Education Tomorrow's Lawyers

09.26.2011 | Law, Students

The University of Dayton School of Law is one of 15 law schools participating in a new consortium aimed at changing the way lawyers are educated in the United States.

The initiative, Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, creates a platform for law schools to develop and share innovative approaches to education focused on producing practice-ready lawyers. The initiative is spearheaded by the University of Denver's Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.

Dean Paul E. McGreal noted that the School of Law's Lawyer as Problem Solver curriculum, which, since it was launched in 2005, has emphasized students' experiential learning opportunities through externships, capstone courses and the Law Clinic, fits perfectly with the new consortium's goals.

"The University of Dayton School of Law has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation in legal education," McGreal said. "Given our emphasis on experiential learning, we thought it was important to participate in the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyer consortium."

The new project brings together law schools interested in building on "Educating Lawyers," the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's influential 2007 report, which found that many law students graduate with little experience working with real clients and an inadequate foundation in ethical and social issues.

The University of Dayton School of Law was invited by Carnegie to participate in a 2007 project examining how American law schools prepare lawyers and make recommendations for reform.

"Our participation in the consortium will assist the School of Law as we continue to strengthen and improve the Lawyer as Problem Solver curriculum," McGreal said. "It also provides our faculty with opportunities to continue to play a role in reforming legal education."

The website for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers provides detailed information about law courses incorporating the Carnegie report's recommendations. Consortium members are also conducting a national survey on approaches law schools are taking to curricula and faculty and student assessments.

McGreal said that UDSL was attracted to the new consortium because it will provide a platform to conduct empirical research on the effectiveness of the new teaching methods and help develop assessment models.

"A lot of these teaching methods require more resources from law schools and teachers," McGreal said. "Let's make sure they work."

In addition to UDSL, consortium members include:
Cornell Law School
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
University of New Hampshire School of Law
University of New Mexico School of Law
City University of New York School of Law
Seattle University School of Law
University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Southwestern Law School
Stanford Law School
Suffolk University Law School
Vanderbilt University Law School
Washington and Lee University School of Law

For more information, contact Bob Mihalek at 937-229-4683.