Article of the Month
August 2013Nancy Rapoport, Rethinking U.S. Legal Education: No More Same Old Same Old, 45 Connecticut Law Review 1409 (2013).
The aim of the first year of law school should be dedicated to "Creating the Skilled Novice." The second year of law school should result in students becoming "Novice Problem Solvers." Finally, the third year of law school should be devoted to "Creating a Novice Professional with Basic Judgment." Professor Rapaport describes in detail the aspect, aims, and characteristics of this three-phased law school curriculum.
The empirical bases of Professor Rapoport's suggestions are well documented in detailed and comprehensive studies such as Best Practices, Carnegie, and McCrate (which most of legal academia has blatantly ignored thus far). Professor Rapoport suggests the following reasons why legal academia continues to ignore solid education:
- "Law Professors have a cushy life." In our current, high-salaried jobs, "we get to study what we want" and we don't have to worry about putting "the client's interest first."
- Most law professors are blissfully ignorant of education theory and research.
- Law schools reward the production of scholarship rather than the "painstaking amount of time it takes to think seriously about the curriculum, develop new courses that reflect the building of skill sets over time, determine better ways to evaluate whether a student is actually developing those skills, and recalibrate the curriculum," if outcomes are not being achieved.
[Read fulltext at Connecticut Law Review website (1.2 MB PDF)]
Washburn University School of Law