Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rankin: Strategies for Legal Education Reform

Sara K. Rankin (Seattle), Tired of Talking: A Call for Clear Strategies for Legal Education Reform: Moving Beyond the Discussion of Good Ideas to the Real Transformation of Law Schools, 10 Seattle J. for Soc. Just. 17 (2012):

Legal education reform efforts have persisted for over one hundred years, supported by substantive expertise, empirical data, cutting-edge curricula, and effective pedagogy. But today, the normative face of legal education remains essentially unchanged. If the substance behind legal education reform is valid, then what is the problem?

This article examines the stasis of legal education through the lens of historical reform efforts, political science, and contemporary organizational change theory. The author argues that legal education reform efforts are marginalized and have limited normative impact because reformers underestimate the strategic demands of systemic change. As a result, reformers have yet to build a coherent, collective strategy for the transformation of legal education. The author contends that reformers must shift from an exclusive focus on the substance of legal education reform to adopt a new focus on strategy. Finally, the author offers some starting points on how to begin a new strategic discussion on the transformation of legal education.

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