Sturm College of Law, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
Practice-ready lawyers, Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, Legal education innovation, Experiential learning, Law school curriculum
The leaders in education reform understand that the goal is to create multi-faceted and balanced graduates – those who not only understand the law at a deep level, but also know how to use the law to solve their clients’ problems. Yes, it is probably important for a future litigator to understand how to take a deposition. But if we teach that skill, it is not instead of teaching the doctrine that will support the theory of the case (and the ability to research and understand that doctrine), or even the theory behind the doctrine, which would allow the graduate to understand the doctrine more deeply, apply it appropriately and argue it more persuasively.
That is what we mean at Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers when we talk about trying to change legal education so that we produce more practice-ready lawyers. It is not just about adding more skills training. Rather, it is about integrating that training into learning experiences that permit our students to learn both theory and practice in context – and, where possible, experientially.
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Martin J. Katz, Practice-Ready: The False Dichotomy Between Theory and Practice, IAALS BLOG (Dec. 13, 2011), https://iaals.du.edu/blog/practice-ready-false-dichotomy-between-theory-and-practice.