There was an article in a recent number of the Law Times on a conference at Ryerson on legal education. The focus seemed to be on whether law schools should stick with their current model of education, i.e., teaching students “how to think”, not what they need to know to be lawyers—what I call the “Harry Arthurs” model. This attitude was juxtaposed with “clinical” legal education.
It seems to me that this is a false dichotomy and that there is an alternative—whether it’s called a “middle way” or not. One such alternative would be to require students to undertake practical exercises like drafting in much the same way as they now do moots. Of course drafting does not have the (supposed) glamour of appellate argument but it teaches skills that cannot be taught either in the Harry Arthurs model or particularly well in the clinical model. One additional benefit of the alternative that I offer is that it exposes students to the work of the solicitor, a professional role that law schools generally ignore even if they don’t have contempt for it.
It would be interesting to have a discussion on Slaw of the merits (and otherwise) of the various possible models of legal education.