Gaze into the Future of Legal Education Pace Law School Overhauls by mirit35

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									FEATURE                                                                                                www.lawcrossing.com     1. 800.973.1177




                            Gaze into the Future of Legal Education: Pace Law School
                            Overhauls Curriculum, Revolutionizes Future of Law School
                            [By Heather Jung]
                            Later this month, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching will publish its findings from a two-year
                            study in a report entitled Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. According to a press release from the
                            foundation, the study looked at 16 legal institutions in the U.S. and Canada in order to examine “the way that law schools
                            develop legal understanding and form professional identity.” While the report acknowledged that law schools are capable of
                            imparting the ability to think like a lawyer, they are in need of “innovation and improvement.”




“The calling of legal education is a high one-to   education had not changed much since he             Lawyers?”), Friedman says that “law schools
prepare future professionals with enough           graduated from Harvard Law School in 962.          need to align legal education more closely
understanding, skill, and judgment to support                                                          with the realities of law practice or the gap
the vast and complicated system of the law         “Perhaps because I have been a practicing           will be closed by other institutions, such
needed to sustain the United States as a free      lawyer I was deeply impressed by the                as the growing number of CLE providers.
society,” said William Sullivan, one of the        fact that there seemed to be no greater             Those law schools that are able to take this
report’s authors. “Unfortunately, despite          connection between the structure and                step, particularly those other than the elite
some very fine teaching in law schools, often      nature of legal education and law practice,”        schools, will gain a competitive edge in
they fail to complement the focus on skill         Friedman said. “In fact, there was                  attracting students and placing them in good
in legal analyses with effective support for       astonishingly little dialogue between the           jobs.”
developing ethical and practice skills.”           legal profession and law schools about what
                                                   lawyers and judges thought our students             To achieve the goals set forth in his article,
In order to avoid remaining stagnant with          should know about when they graduate and            Friedman and the rest of the administration
regard to their methods, many law schools,         the extent to which the current curriculums         at Pace are in the process of overhauling
such as Pace Law School, are looking at            were satisfying that.”                              the school’s curriculum. While many
ways to overhaul their curricula and create                                                            schools offer basic J.D.s, Pace offers several
programs that will make graduating law             According to Friedman, one of the main              concentrations for students to choose
students more effective lawyers in the             issues at hand is whether or not students           from, including a nationally renowned real
future.                                            would benefit from having more focus in             estate and land use program. Students who
                                                   their legal education. With the current             specialize in a given area will take four or
Stephen Friedman has been the dean of              curricula employed by most law schools,             five classes, starting in their second year,
Pace Law School since 2004 and believes            students take classes on a broad range of           geared toward that specific area of study.
legal education “would benefit from being          legal topics in order to gain exposure to the
more purposeful […] by trying to answer the        many facets of the legal system. Friedman           “We are not trying to make them experts. To
question ‘What is it we are trying to produce,     and other legal educators believe that              paraphrase Winston Churchill, what we seek
and what do we want our students to know           students should continue taking some of             is not the end (specialization). It is not even
about?’”                                           these broader classes but should also have          the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps
                                                   focused areas of study.                             the end of the beginning: an effective new
Before becoming Pace’s dean, Friedman                                                                  lawyer prepared to begin practice in a broad
practiced law in several fields; he                “You end up knowing a little about a lot of         area of the law,” Friedman said in the law
was a senior partner at New York law               things, but you don’t have an integrated            review article.
firm Debevoise & Plimpton, worked in               or holistic view of any area of the law,”
government sectors, and was general                Friedman said.                                      According to the article, specializations
counsel for companies such as E.F. Hutton                                                              would be designed to “combine substantive
and Equitable. Upon taking his position            In an article in the Toledo Law Review              law and skills in a meaningful way,” which
at Pace, he was shocked to find that legal         (“Why Can’t Law Students Be More Like               would require offering groups of courses in


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FEATURE                                                                                           www.lawcrossing.com   1. 800.973.1177




the later years of law school covering topics   responsibility for clients; and (3) exploration   To order a copy of the Carnegie Foundation’s
such as litigation, taxation, and labor and     and assumption of the identity, values, and       study, visit www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/
employee benefits.                              dispositions consonant with the fundamental       WileyTitle/productCd-07879826X.html.
                                                purposes of the legal profession.”
“We are not going to make them experts, but                                                       ON THE NET
I think we can make young lawyers much          According to Friedman, other law schools
more effective beginning lawyers, beginning     across the country, such as George Mason,         Pace Law School
associates, than they are now,” Friedman        Harvard, and Stanford, are realizing the          www.law.pace.edu
said.                                           same thing he realized: the need for a new
                                                way of teaching law students and equipping        “Why Can’t Law Students Be More Like
Similarly, the authors of the Carnegie          them for their future careers.                    Lawyers?”
Foundation’s report call for law schools                                                          www.utlaw.edu/students/lawreview/
to utilize a three-part curriculum: “() the    “Training lawyers to ‘serve the needs of a        volumes/v37n/Friedman.htm
teaching of legal doctrine and analysis,        complex, democratic society’ is exactly what
which provides the basis for professional       American legal education should be aiming         The Carnegie Foundation for the
growth; (2) introduction to the several         for,” Friedman said in his article. “The          Advancement of Teaching
facets of practice included under the           question is ‘How well are we doing it?’”          www.carnegiefoundation.org
rubric of lawyering, leading to acting with




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