This just in: Law schools begin teaching students to be lawyers

July 6, 2012

in Legal writing

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According to a recent American Bar Association survey of  law school curricula, schools have begun adding courses geared toward training law students in the practical skills they’ll need when they are released into the ocean as baby sharks.

The National Law Journal reports on the survey response:

“The survey responses reveal a renewed commitment by law schools to review and revise their curricula to produce practice-ready professionals,” said Hulett “Bucky” Askew, the ABA’s consultant on legal education.

Now why on earth, you may ask, would this development be breaking news?   Well, strange as it seems, it has taken the economic crisis to convince law schools that part of their job is to actually teach their students what to do when they go out in the real world and start representing clients.

Not surprisingly, writing training is a big piece of the new offerings. According to Southwestern Law School Professor Catherine Carpenter, chair of the ABA committee that produced the report:

“Wholesale curricular review has produced experimentation and change at all levels of the curriculum, resulting in new programs and courses, new and enhanced experiential learning, and greater emphasis on various kinds of writing across the curriculum.”

This will come as a relief to those who rely on the written work of junior attorneys. But somehow I think the baby sharks will still have plenty to learn once they start swimming in open waters.

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