The Future of Legal Education: Comparative Perspectives

Part 1: Summer 2007 (1 credit)

Updated as of 3/19/08


If an assigned reading is highlighted, it can be downloaded in pdf format from the course web site by clicking on the title. If the reading is not highlighted, it can be found on the "PDF1" file on the CD to be picked up from my assistant, Karen Butler, in Room 401.


Class 1

Wednesday, May 16 (2-4)

We begin with a quick history of American legal education from the Revolution to the present. Not only are we applying the old adage that we cannot know where “we” (legal education) is going until we know where we have been, but this historical review is also intended to introduce you to some of the basic research and writing methodologies needed for your final paper. Your final paper will describe, explain and evaluate an innovative approach to legal education either in the US or another country. For class 1, each of you will be assigned a period of American history and will describe in class what was going on in legal education during that period and offer a tentative explanation for these events, in particular changes from the past. Just as for your final paper you will need to draw on various sources with differing perspectives and degrees of detail and accuracy, for Class 1 I am presenting you with the following four sources to review. Except for “Educating Lawyers”(the Carnegie Report) and “The ABA’s First Section,” which are you purchasing, the other readings are either on the CD provided to you along with “The ABA’s First Section” or posted on the course web site.

Assigned Reading

1.   Report of the ABA Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap (1992) (commonly called the “MacCrate Report” after its chairperson, former ABA President Robert MacCrate), pp. 103 - 120 (ch. 3)

2.   Susan K. Boyd, The ABA’s First Section: Assuring a Qualified Bar (ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar 1993), chapters 1-11, 14-15, 19, 23-24.

3.   Preble Stolz, Clinical Experience in American Legal Education: Why Has It Failed?, in Clinical Education and the Law School of the Future (Edmund W. Kitch, ed. University of Chicago Conference Series No. 20) (1969)

4.   Educating Lawyers, introduction and chapter 1.

Assignment: Submit by email attachment to me no later than noon May 15 an outline suitable for class presentation on May 16 describing the key features of American legal education during your assigned period, including a chronology of key events. The outline can be in a word processing format (e.g. MS Word or Wordperfect) or, preferably, Powerpoint. Also be prepared to discuss and supplement the outlines for all the other periods as they are presented in class (i.e. do not only study the readings as they apply to your assigned period).

The outlines as submitted can be viewed by clicking on the dates and student names below. With the exception of the first outline, all are powerpoint documents.

1776 - 1870: Florez (Word document)

1870 - 1890: Grant

1890 - 1910: Harrington

1910 - 1930: Li

1930 - 1950: DeVries

1950 - 1970: Williams

1970 - present: Spencer

Class 2

Tuesday, May 22 (2-4)

In Class 2 we add the element of evaluation to description and explanation. The Carnegie Report and the article by Keyes & Johnstone are both quite critical of US and Australian legal education, respectively, and for many of the same reasons. Do you find these criticisms persuasive. If yes, why? If no, why not? Moliterno describes and explains an innovative approach to the first two years at William & Mary; what do you think of his attempt to provide an objective evaluation of its effectiveness? And finally, what methods can you think of to evaluate the New Hampshire pilot program for a performance based alternative to the traditional bar exam”?

Assigned Reading

5.   Educating Lawyers, rest of the book (you can skim the chapter on assessment)

6.   Mary Keyes & Richard Johnstone, Changing Legal Education: Rhetoric, Reality, and Prospects for the Future, 26 Sydney L. Rev. 537 - 564 (2004) (sent to students by email)

7.   James E. Moliterno, Professional Preparedness: A Comparative Study of Law Graduates’ Perceived Readiness for Professional Ethics Issues, 58 Law & Contemporary Problems 259 - 286 (1995).

8.   Linda S. Dalianis & Sophie M. Sparrow, New Hampshire’s Performance-Based Variant of the Bar Examination: The Daniel Webster Scholar Program, Bar Examiner (Nov. 2005), pp. 23-26.


Class Discussion Materials

ABA Accreditation Standards: Chapter 3 (Program of Legal Education)


Cunningham, Reflections on the 2007 Report on American Legal Education from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Powerpoint presentation
PDF slides

Class 3

Thursday, May 24 (2-4)

In Class 3 you are offered a sampling of innovative legal education outside the US. Read these assignments both with an eye to whether any of these settings are a possible independent study overseas fieldwork project for you and also as examples of description, explanation and evaluation. Additional material on South Africa and India are found on the CD and additional materials on Latin America – Argentina and Columbia – are found on the course home page. By the end of Class 3 you should be ready to decide whether you want to prepare an independent study proposal.

Assigned Reading:

9.   Peggy Maisel, An Alternative Model to United States Bar Examinations: The South African Community Service Experience in Licensing Attorneys, 20 Ga.St U. L. Rev. (2004).

10. N.R. Madhava Menon, In Defense of Socially-Relevant Legal Education (1996).

11. Mariela Puga, Challenges for Legal Clinics in Argentina, The Law Teacher (2003).

12. Paul Maharg, Transactional Learning Environments and Professional Legal Education in Scotland, Bar Examiner (Nov. 2005), pp. 9-13.


June 4 - 22

Independent research and drafting of the paper due at the end of the summer term. I will be available by appointment to meet with you during this time.

Class 4 (tentative)

Tuesday, June 26 (7:30 am - 9:00 am)

Presentation and discussion of draft papers.


Class 5 (tentative)

Thursday, June 28 (7:30 am - 9:00 am)

Continued presentation and discussion of draft papers.