Learning by Doing - Preparing Law Students for the Practice of Law: The Legal Practicum
John O. Sonsteng
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 21, 1995
The MacCrate Report outlined ten skills that are essential for every practicing attorney and should ideally be taught in every law school. The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) concluded that these ten skills cannot be effectively obtained through every law school curriculum because of each school's individual, economic limitations. This article demonstrates how one law school - William Mitchell College of Law, in St. Paul, Minnesota - has , since 1984, incorporated a cost effective Legal Practicum course into its curriculum to help meet the MacCrate Report goal of providing the law student with the opportunity to learn and apply fundamental lawyering skills. Part II of the article defines, describes, and highlights the "learning by doing" philosophy of The Legal Practicum, the course created by William Mitchell College of Law professors. Part III addresses teaching/learning theory and the educational reasons why The Legal Practicum is successful. Part IV outlines the administrative aspects of The Legal Practicum and how it can be added to existing law school curricula. Implementation of The Legal Practicum can help overcome many criticisms of legal education and can assist the law student in achieving the fundamental lawyering skills described by the MacCrate Report.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 88
Keywords: Legal education, legal instruction, curriculum, problem solving, legal reasoning, trial procedure, legal ethics, practical skills
Date posted: November 6, 2010