Tuesday January 23, 2007

Ahead of the Legal Education Curve

A national publication mentions UD, along with Harvard, Stanford and Vanderbilt, as a school that has started or will start programs designed to give law students more experience with clients and ethical and social issues.

The University of Dayton had a two-year head start on last week's Carnegie Foundation report that said "many law students graduate with little experience working with real clients and an inadequate grounding in ethical and social issues."

Although UD wasn't one of the schools studied, a Chronicle of Higher Education story about the Carnegie report highlighted UD, along with Harvard, Stanford and Vanderbilt, as a school that has started or will start programs geared toward addressing the report's concerns.

UD's School of Law [http://law.udayton.edu/home] has always followed the Marianist mission of educating for service, justice and peace. But recognizing particular challenges in legal education and responding to students and employers, UD started developing its Lawyer as Problem Solver curriculum in 2004.

"Lawyer as Problem Solver is a great fit with the Carnegie conclusions. Our emphasis on ethics and service is important for our students and legal education," said Lisa Kloppenberg, UD's School of Law dean. "Lawyer as Problem Solver also emphasizes dispute resolution, capstones, real-world experience through externships in local law firms and hours of 'client' interviews with actors employed by UD's School of Law."

The UD program also has an accelerated option that allows students to finish in two years, instead of the traditional three years.

Students entering UD's School of Law this year will be the first encouraged to sign pro bono pledges stating they will complete at least 50 hours of community service, most of which must be free legal services to the poor.

The word about UD's School of Law continues to spread nationwide. More than half of the students in the 2006 entering class hail from one of 27 states outside Ohio. UD's 2006 fall applicant pool was three percentage points higher than the national and regional averages.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at 937-229-3391. A summary of the report is available on the Carnegie Foundation's Web site.