Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Jennifer S. Bard (Dean, Cincinnati), Disentangling Correlation from Causation in Addressing the Contemporary Challenges of the Law School Curriculum:
The disconnect between the actual curriculum of law schools in the United States meeting the ABA Standards for Accreditation and the multiple calls to reform that curriculum in order to create “practice ready” lawyers and increase bar passage is national in its scope and has led to considerable tension both in and out of the academy. I wrote this piece, Not Your Parents' Law School, last February to put the balance of classroom and experiential learning in context, but the on-going calls to increase bar passage, lower costs, cut a year out of the curriculum, and increase hands-on skills instruction continue to create a climate of considerable dissonance. If that wasn't hard enough, we are trying to address these issues in an environment where everyone involved has not just their own opinion, but their own facts. Baskin Robbins wouldn't launch a new flavor based on evidence equal to the paucity of reproducible research that supports either the claims about the scope of legal academe's problems or the proposals for solving them.
Over the next weeks I will highlight the facts in dispute and address this disconnection and dissonance in a way that questions correlative explanations of low bar passage and decreases in employment opportunities.