Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2139789
 


 



Reforming the Third Year of Law School


Lyman Johnson


Washington and Lee University - School of Law; University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law

Robert T. Danforth


Washington and Lee University - School of Law

David Millon


Washington and Lee University - School of Law

2012

Reforming Legal Education, D. Moss & D. Curtis, eds., 2012
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-24
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
In early 2008, Washington and Lee fundamentally reformed the entire third year law school curriculum. The new curriculum broke with decades-long tradition by focusing entirely on student-centered, experiential learning. It also sharply distinguished the educational approach in the third year from that in the first and second years, thereby creating a strong sense of pedagogical progression. Finally, it more deliberately prepared students for the transition to practice and emphasized the importance of attending to the formation of a professional identity.

This article, a chapter in a new book − Reforming Legal Education (D. Moss & D. Curtis, eds., 2012) – describes in detail the substantive curricular changes made at Washington and Lee. But it also describes more process-oriented factors that are critical to successful curricular reform such as aligning proposed changes with a school’s or university’s larger strategic objectives so as to achieve true institutional “fit.” We also describe the importance of thoughtful implementation of reform, after adoption, through a phased-in “roll out” process. Finally, we relate how our curricular changes included, from the outset, a mandated mechanism for post-adoption assessment on an ongoing basis. Assurance of expected regular occasions for revisiting curricular reform can itself facilitate change and overcome initial resistance.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: legal education, law school, law school curriculum, transition to practice, professional identity, admission to the bar

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Date posted: September 2, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Lyman and Danforth, Robert T. and Millon, David, Reforming the Third Year of Law School (2012). Reforming Legal Education, D. Moss & D. Curtis, eds., 2012; U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-24; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2139789

Contact Information

Lyman P. Q. Johnson (Contact Author)
Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
540-458-8515 (Phone)
540-458-8488 (Fax)
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law
MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States

Robert T. Danforth
Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
540-458-8524 (Phone)
540-458-8488 (Fax)
David K. Millon
Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
540-458-8993 (Phone)
540-458-8586 (Fax)
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