TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, March 31, 2017

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Issue of the week: At its March 2017 meeting, the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar "took initial action to approve potential changes in the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools by requesting “Notice and Comment” for these proposals:
To modify Standard 403 to require that only the first third of a student’s course must be substantially delivered by full-time faculty. Other Standards would continue to assure the quality of the education that a student will receive by requiring law schools to attract and retain a faculty competent to deliver the school’s J.D. program and that the school effectively deliver its program."

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) strongly opposes the proposal "to preserve the quality of students’ educational experiences."  (here)  In particular, ""Students need to have access to faculty members outside of classroom time to be able to go over things that confuse them, to be counseled on how their education fits with their career aspiration and things like that. . .  Adjunct faculty typically are not available on campus outside their teaching hours."

I wrote a post on the Legal Skills Prof Blog opposing the proposal because "[l]aw students need to be taught by professors who are experts at teaching.  Good teaching requires not only subject-matter expertise, but also the ability to convey the material to students and to help students become self-regulated learners.  Part-time teachers generally can't do this."  (here)  I added, "what law schools need to do is to do better what they already do--teach students how to become lawyers and further knowledge concerning the law.  The ABA proposal would have the opposite effect by putting inexperienced teachers into the classroom."

[The above opinion is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any of the other bloggers on this blog.]

For more legal education news, visit The Legal Skills Prof Blog, A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network.

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""[l]aw students need to be taught by professors who are experts at teaching.  Good teaching requires not only subject-matter expertise"

And? I was unaware that any meaningful number of law professors has verifiable excellence in teaching. Going to Harvard/Yale Law + 1-2 years' reviewing documents at a Vault 10 firm ~!= excellence in teaching. Nor does it equate to subject-matter expertise. For example, just by looking at their bio, I'm pretty sure that my Contracts professor never wrote, reviewed, or litigated a contract a day in their life. Nor did that individual have a master's in education or anything that might signify actual teaching expertise.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Mar 31, 2017 11:30:40 AM