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Guardian Unlimited


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    « A tale of two cities | Main | Transforming Legal Education »

    July 21, 2007


    It truly is a tremendous work, and I found myself nodding along as I recognized the shortcomings of my own J.D. and why I lost interest in law school after my first year. The chapter on values was particularly important to me. I also believe that their recommendation of the "integrative" approach is crucial, since if executed it neatly lops off the typical defensive line against turning law schools into "trade schools."

    Still, any report's weakness is always its implementation -- after all, recommendations are not self-executing. The key to any change will be to build a powerful constituency and coalition whose interests are bound to that change. With a massive turnover of professors looming, perhaps this would be the time -- but change won't come with passively waiting but rather active organizing. I hope the reformers are up to the task.

    Agree, Gene. It's the problem of implementation. What happens next, after the book? I guess there ought to be a conference or two, with streams dedicated to aspects of the book. But after that the real work begins. Practical action plans may not be a good idea, but it wd be useful to see a road map for change, or some kind of ChangeCentral website taking examples of good practice forward in some way or other. Maybe even the funding of small scale examples of change in key institutions, with the results and the project resources with which staff achieved those results to be made available for others to read, copy, adapt if they want. And the provision of cascading support networks for people who want to engage in further change...

    And I guess that there ought to be links with what's happening in other disciplines, other jurisdictions. I was really pleased to see how the Foundation drew upon its extensive experience across professions to compare legal education with other types of professional education. But I think it could have done better in cross-jurisdictional comparisons. I've just finished a book on legal ed. which draws a lot on a Deweyan pragmatist model, and of course discusses some of the remarkable educational literature from US law schools. Set side by side with UK legal educational traditions and research directions, there are many fascinating comparisons and contrasts, and many points where the two broad traditions can learn from each other ways to resolve their present-day dilemmas.

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