Learning by Doing - Preparing Law Students for the Practice of Law: The Legal Practicum

88 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2010

Date Written: 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.

Keywords: Legal education, legal instruction, curriculum, problem solving, legal reasoning, trial procedure, legal ethics, practical skills

Suggested Citation

Sonsteng, John O., Learning by Doing - Preparing Law Students for the Practice of Law: The Legal Practicum (1995). William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 21, 1995, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1703107

John O. Sonsteng (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
Room 356
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States
651-290-6324 (Phone)

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