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    Dayton Law Active at Innovative Law Education Conference

    Dean Lisa Kloppenberg and a group of UDSL faculty participated in the first of a series of conferences on innovative ideas in legal education this spring. "Future Ed: New Business Models for U.S. and Global Legal Education," cosponsored by New York Law School and Harvard Law School, was the first of three conferences exploring the changing legal education environment.

    Kloppenberg was invited to participate on a panel examining accelerated J.D. programs during which she shared Dayton Law's experience starting a two-year degree option.

    In addition to Kloppenberg, Dean of Students Lori Shaw and Professors Eric Chaffee and Dennis Greene attended the conference. Shaw said the participation of four Dayton Law representatives shows that the School's reputation is growing nationally, particularly for the two-year J.D. option.

    Chaffee noted that "many conference participants just seemed to be realizing that some people who would be excellent lawyers need to get through law school in two years."

    Chaffee said he was also struck that Dayton Law has already implemented many of the ideas that were discussed as being new in legal education. "I was impressed by how forward thinking the University of Dayton School of Law is when it comes to the future of legal education," he said, citing, as examples, the School's emphasis on experiential learning, the Externship Program and capstone courses. "Many things that people are just starting to talk about are things the University of Dayton has been doing for years."

    "Law schools have to be doing a much better job of preparing students to practice," he said. "I think we recognized that a lot earlier than other schools. It has been my good fortune that UDSL has always worked to be an innovator in legal education, even prior to when I arrived in 2006."

    Shaw said she was struck with how seriously law schools are viewing the threat posed to them by the nation's economic downturn. She said the top law schools might begin to place more emphasis on career services for students, something Dayton Law has stressed for years.

    "We have been shielded by that because most of our students don't focus on the large, national law firms," Shaw said. "Our students have always had to hustle to get jobs."

    Greene focused on distance learning discussions. "It was amazing to hear about the range of distance learning programs which are presently being conducted, both in J.D. and in L.L.M. programs, some with low profitability for the educational institution and others with high profitability as well as high student satisfaction," he said.

    The April conference will be followed by a second meeting at Harvard in October and a final conference at New York Law School in April 2011.