Last month I participated in a great conference on legal education by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, “Engaging and Assessing Our Students” (link here). There were numerous workshops, and my only regret is that I couldn’t attend all of them. My topic was on teaching with online simulations:
Live websites provide a dynamic “sandbox” for role-playing simulations that cast students as lawyers acting for fictional clients. Such simulations, initially crafted for a Cyberlaw class, can also be used in a wide variety of other courses. This provides a highly configurable platform for the immersive and holistic learning of knowledge, skills, and professional identity, including realistic fact-finding, advocacy, negotiation, ethical traps, and much more. The workshop will first provide background on relevant technology and methodology. We will then move to a mini role-playing exercise using the live Internet, followed by a discussion of the benefits and challenges of online simulations.
Interested readers can find my presentation materials, including a sample scoresheet incorporating all MacCrate skills factors, here.
This weekend the NY Times is running an online debate entitled “The Debate over Law School.” The main focus is whether law school should be reduced from three years to two. Geoffrey R. Stone says “The critical question is what law schools can do to educate future lawyers that legal practice cannot do.” In addition:
Does the three-year program of legal education work well? This depends entirely on what legal educators do with the three years. If legal educators are lazy, uninspired or indifferent to their responsibility to educate, three years is certainly too long. But if they are thoughtful, focused and creative, three years may not be long enough.
Rose Cuison Villazor says:
Ultimately, the question about reducing the cost of legal education should be less about its length but rather its quality. Law schools must put greater emphasis in developing and strengthening programs that would help law students become engaged and ethical lawyers. These include increasing the availability of skills-based courses, clinical and internship programs, enhanced academic support and mentoring services, providing more mentoring and offering more interdisciplinary courses. By enhancing the traditional model instead of radically changing it, many law students might just view their legal education as an important investment in time and money.
For more, go to the main debate page.
H/T to Therapeutic Jurisprudence page on Facebook.