I first became aware of the movement in US law schools towards experiential learning with the publication of the Carnegie Report in 2007. The Carnegie Report recommended that law school should integrate “the three apprenticeships”: theory, practical skills, and ethics.
A few years later, New York Law School and Harvard Law School joined forces, with each hosting a conference on this topic.
Building on this momentum, in 2012 Northeastern Law School in Boston hosted the first ever National Symposium on Experiential Learning in Law. I was fortunate to attend, and it was an eye-opener for me. I learned how diverse and well developed experiential learning was in our southern neighbour’s law schools.
Northeastern Law, by the way, has a co-op approach towards legal education, requiring four full time co-op programs in order for students to graduate.
The second Symposium was held in 2014 at Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was sponsored by the Elon University School of Law and the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law. To my regret I was not able to attend. Videos and papers from this symposium can be found here.
Now, the Third National Symposium on Experiential Learning in Law is coming up fast. It will be held at New York Law School on June 10-12. It is sponsored by sponsored by New York Law School and The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and co-sponsored by a number of law schools, including leaders in experiential learning such as Northeastern University School of Law, Washington College of Law, and Vermont Law School.
The theme of the conference will be assessing students in experiential learning programs. This is a topic that many law faculty members find difficult when planning an experiential learning course. There will be plenaries as well as small groups where individual assessment methodologies will be presented and assessed by workshop participants.
This is a superb opportunity for Canadian law faculty (including adjuncts) to meet their counterparts in the US and learn from those at the cutting edge of legal education. It may be of interest as well to law school deans, associate deans, and faculty program committee chairs.
It is also a chance to meet those associated with the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law. This organization was formed in 2011. It now has members from more than 113 law schools and legal services organizations. “The Alliance’s ultimate goal is to ensure that law graduates are ready to practice with a full complement of skills and ethical and social values necessary to serve clients and the public interest, now and in the future.”
More details on the Symposium can be found on the NYLS website. Registration is open until June 7, 2016.