Friday, March 11, 2022
Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas-MN; Google Scholar) & Jerome M. Organ (St. Thomas-MN), Learning Outcomes that Law Schools Have Adopted: Seizing the Opportunity to Help Students, Legal Employers, Clients, and the Law School, 69 J. Legal Educ. __ (2022):
Over the next several years, legal education’s movement toward learning outcomes and better assessment offers an excellent opportunity for proactive law schools to realize substantial benefits for their students and the schools themselves. Students and graduates with strong evidence of later-stage development of competencies in addition to the standard cognitive “thinking like a lawyer” skills will have higher probabilities of good post-graduation outcomes that will help the students, clients, legal employers, the school, and the legal system. Law schools that are proactive early leaders will be rewarded.
Section II explains the opportunities presented to proactive schools by the American Bar Association’s revision of the accreditation standards to emphasize competency-based education. Section III reports on a survey of the learning outcomes (one of the foundational steps in competency-based education) adopted by ABA-accredited law schools as of January, 2022. These data indicate how law faculties understand the competencies needed to serve clients, legal employers, and the legal system. Section IV provides a step-by-step model on how to seize the opportunity to implement competency-based education using the competency of ownership over the student’s own professional development/self-directed learning as the model.