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Archive for the ‘Legal Education’ Columns

The Las Vegas System

My criminal law professor was the stuff of nightmares. His name was Christo Lassiter and prior to joining the legal acadme, he was a prosecutor for the United States Marine Corps JAGs. Imagine The Paper Chase’s Prof. Kingsfield with the ability to shoot an M-16. That was our Professor Lassiter.

In the spring of my 1L year, a group of female law students decided to join the university intramural softball league. It seemed like a good way to relieve stress, even if most of us were creaking towards 30 (…ha!) and our opponents were going to be 20 year . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Access to Justice: An Opportunity for Law Schools – Part 1

The CBA’s Equal Justice Report
The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee issued its final report in December, entitled Equal Justice: Balancing the Scales (disclaimer – I am a member of the committee). The committee proposed 31 targets to achieve access to justice in Canada. The report can be found here: http://www.cba.org/CBA/equaljustice/main/.

What isn’t well known is that some of these access to justice targets involved Canadian law schools. They provide an opportunity for law faculties to modernize their curriculum while playing a significant role in the biggest legal issue of our generation.

Last fall at the University . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Massively Overhyped Obfuscated Concept – MOOCs in Legal Education

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any education related publication in the 21st century must at some point cover the topic of MOOCs. So let’s get it out of the way, shall we?

As a known supporter of open content and technology, as well as someone who works in education, I like to pretend that people are dying to ask me, “Sarah, are MOOCs going to save law schools?”

My answer? No. No they are not.

Okay, I guess I could flesh this answer out a bit, and not just because I should have about 800 more words . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

What Is the Carnegie Report and Why Does It Matter?

When legal education reform is discussed, Slaw readers may have heard mention of the Carnegie Report without knowing what the report is all about.

Simply put, the Carnegie Report calls for significant changes in legal education in North America. It recommends an integrated approach to legal education. The report identifies “the three apprenticeships” of legal education (theory, ethics, and practical skills) and calls for the apprenticeships to be integrated into courses throughout law school.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is a US based foundation founded in 1905. It describes its mission is as being “committed to developing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Open and Legal Education

There is no shortage of topics to write about when it comes to Legal Education in the 21st Century. Most of them encompass a huge amount of changes that are in process or on the horizon, which, depending on your outlook, can be taken as good news or bad. I think everyone can agree that it is a bit overwhelming to contemplate – especially since most of the changes such as governing body regulations, legal job markets and technological innovations are completely out of our hands and still be decided. Even the most pro-change reformer who would love to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Law Schools at the Crossroads

We all remember the three years we spent in law school. If one of your parents attended law school, their experience likely wasn’t very different from yours. It would likely hold true for a grandparent too.

The structure of legal education in Canada has not changed significantly for over 50 years. You attend class for three years, you article for about a year, you write the bar exams, and then you are called to the bar.

Law school courses have not changed much either. The basic courses are the same, with some new courses added from time to time. Teaching . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

The Law Practice Program Should Not Be Integrated Into Canadian Law Schools

The time to think boldly about legal education is now

This is a time to think boldly about the possibilities for legal education and law schools. Recent posts on this blog testify to a renewed interest in re-examining the education of lawyers. As legal educators, we should be unafraid to question all aspects of our approach to legal education, even those practices that are so familiar that they seem beyond review.

For that reason, Lakehead’s proposal to integrate a law practice program within the confines of their three-year law degree might be lauded. Students who graduate from Lakehead will not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education