Every year since I began teaching, I’ve been nagged by a sense that I was doing some wrong things in the classroom, but for some right reasons. That sense accelerated over the last five years, to the point that I’ve mostly thrown over my own internal framing of what and how I teach. As a few readers of this blog know, I’ve also externalized that framing in a series of manuscripts. I posted a new one just the other day. I’m taking this moment to collect all of these here in a single post, in a transparent attempt to increase their circulation.
In reverse chronological order, they are:
Legal educators today grapple with the changing dynamics of legal employment markets; the evolution of technologies and business models driving changes to the legal profession; and the economics of operating – and attending – a law school. Accrediting organizations and practitioners pressure law schools to prepare new lawyers both to be ready to practice and to be ready for an ever-fluid career path. From the standpoint of law schools in general and any one law school in particular, constraints and limitations surround us. Adaptation through innovation is the order of the day.
How, when, and in what direction should innovation take place? Who should lead, guide, and participate? These are questions often asked in both legal education in particular and in higher education in general. Rarely are answers accompanied by specific examples, strategies, or programs. This paper offers precisely that specificity. It documents one institution’s process and output, beginning with the concept of innovation in the face of multiple challenges and proposing one set of concrete, actionable strategies, tactics, and programs. These range from school-wide interventions to ideas for use at the level of the individual faculty member and course.
The purpose of making the paper available is to note merely that if innovation is a hill to be climbed, then it can be climbed. The process and results may be more valuable if they are shared with others, even if the particular route documented here is not the only one available and may not the best for all times and places.
Innovators, Esq.: Training the Next Generation of Lawyer Social Entrepreneurs (published at 83 UMKC L. Rev. 967 (2015))
Today’s law school graduates need to be entrepreneurial to succeed, but traditional legal education tends to produce lawyers who are “strange bedfellows” with entrepreneurs. This article begins by examining the innovative programs at many law schools that ameliorate this tension, including the programs offered by our Innovation Practice Institute (IPI) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Although these programs train law students to represent entrepreneurs and to be entrepreneurial in law-related careers, few (if any) law schools train law students to be “business” entrepreneurs. Drawing on our own experiences and the writings of Bill Drayton, the lawyer who pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship, we discuss how some lawyers have applied their legal education to be successful “social” entrepreneurs. Finally, we outline the IPI’s three-year law school program explicitly designed to train law students to be social entrepreneurs.
Leading New Lawyers: Leadership and Legal Education (unpublished)
Lawyers may become leaders, but leaders also may become lawyers. The path to leadership can begin in law school. This short essay describes a leadership development course developed and implemented at a law school over the last four years.
Visions of the Future of (Legal) Education (unpublished)
One law professor takes a stab at imagining an ideal law school of the future and describing how to get there. The Essay spells out a specific possible vision, taking into account changes to the demand for legal services and changes to the economics and composition of the legal profession. That thought experiment leads to a series of observations about values and vision in legal education in general and about what it might take to move any vision forward.
Anyone interested in this topic or this material should read the stimulating exchanges in the mobblog on legal education that Deven Desai organized here in 2008.