Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law


Legal education, Legal research and writing, Online legal education


As foreign as it can seem to not be in a physical classroom with bodies sitting in the chairs listening, it is a very different way of teaching but it can be very effective. If you go through this process of developing and dividing outcomes, dividing modules, and selecting the right technology, it can work. And that is kind of a scary thought to some people. Perhaps not people who have come to this section today or to this conference about What's Next, but for many of our colleagues, this is kind of a scary thought – that you might remove yourself from this paradigm that we're so used to. The reality is that although this might seem like a paradigm shift to us, it is not for our students. Many of our students like the flexibility that an online course provides to them because it involves technology, and they are generally very comfortable with it. [At this point, Professor Thomson displayed a cartoon about how our students go to Google for everything.] We need to understand, although we look at that cartoon and particularly librarians look at that and recoil, we need to understand that is really how many of our students think. They cannot really imagine a life before Google. And so when you say to them "well we are going to do this class live and you are going to have a headset," they will typically—in my experience—respond: "Okay, I'm on." It is no big deal to them. Of course as we go with them into that brave new world, we also have to help them to understand that Google does not have all the answers. We have to teach them about what parts of the technology do work and how to make them work effectively to do what lawyers do. It is not about the technology. It is still about the teaching. And it is still about the learning, of course, but it can be done well and effectively online now. Susan is leading the way in the contract drafting environment. So let's get her up here to talk about that.

Publication Statement

Originally published as Lisa Penland, David I.C. Thomson, Susan Duncan, Karen Sneddon and Susan Chesler, New Ways to Teach Drafting and Drafting Ethics, 12 TRANSACTIONS: TENN. J. BUS. L. 187 (2011), proceedings from the Conference on Transactional Education: What Next?, Emory Law School’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice, June 4-5, 2010. Copyright is held by the authors. User is responsible for all copyright compliance