Best Practices for the Law of the Horse: Teaching Cyberlaw Through Simulations
Posted: 22 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 7, 2009
This Article discusses ways of using role-playing simulations and skills- and values-based methods for teaching Cyberlaw. Although Judge Easterbrook once mocked Cyberlaw as no more than 'the law of the horse,' Lawrence Lessig justly noted the value of Cyberlaw to a modern law school curriculum. Indeed, by examining shifts from existing paradigms, Cyberlaw provides a unique perspective to the study of law. Therefore, looking to Best Practices in Legal Education, the Carnegie Report, and The MacCrate Report, this Article discusses ways of using role-playing simulations and a skills- and values-based approach for teaching Cyberlaw. As discussed in the Article, the author’s Cyberlaw class was often run as an experimental role-playing game, with the author as the 'senior partner' of a fictional law firm and the students as 'associates.' The author created live on-line role-playing experiences for the students, who were responsible for acting as lawyers to a fictional 'client.' Adverse parties were also fictional, and the author - also acting as the adverse party - was able to create individualized student experiences that permitted detailed exploration of many aspects of Cyberlaw. Importantly, such an approach can enhance doctrinal teaching rather than replace it. Specifically, using skills and value simulations helped students to obtain a deep understanding of Cyberlaw issues and concepts. Equally so, teaching Cyberlaw through role-playing simulations helped students to obtain a better appreciation of general lawyering skills and values.
Keywords: Cyberlaw, intellectual property, legal education, curricular reform, Best Practices, Carnegie Report, MacCrate Report, simulations, role-playing, skills, ethics, values
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