July 6, 2012
ABA Releases Survey of Law School Curricula: 2002-2010
The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar yesterday released a five-page Executive Summary of its forthcoming report, A Survey of Law School Curricula: 2002-2010. The full report will be released in advance of an Aug. 4 presentation at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago:
This report ... continues in the tradition of the 2002 Survey. It is a comprehensive empirical review of significant aspects of current law school curricula, but additionally, the 2010 Survey employs baseline results from the 2002 Survey to track curricular trends and changes since 2002. ...
Since the 2002 Survey was published, law schools have faced a changing legal job market amid an economic downturn7 and increased competition as the ABA-approved ranks have swelled. Media scrutiny of legal education, and specifically of the law school curriculum, has also fueled the conversation. Each factor has contributed to make curricular-setting principles the subject of intense discussion and debate.
Results of the 2010 Survey – the objective data combined with the narrative responses – reveal that law school faculties are engaged in efforts to review and revise their curriculum to produce practice ready professionals. Survey respondents frequently cited the changing job market and the three publications (The MacCrate Report, Educating Lawyers, and Best Practices) as influential in their decisionmaking processes.
In the 2002 Survey, we observed that law schools had begun to retool aspects of their programs with two commitments guiding them: an increased commitment to clinical legal education and an increased commitment to professionalism. The 2010 data suggests that these goals remain firmly in place as law schools attempt to respond to the critiques and external influences of recent years. But there is more. Engaging in wholesale curricular review has produced experimentation and change at all levels of the curriculum, resulting in new programs and courses, new and enhanced experiential learning, and greater emphasis on various kinds of writing across the curriculum.
- ABA Journal, US Law Schools Expanding Clinical, Professionalism Offerings, Survey Shows
- National Law Journal, ABA: Law Schools Getting the Message on Practical Skills
- WSJ Law Blog, Law Schools Offering More Practical Skills Courses in Weak Job Market
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