Pouring Skills Content Into Doctrinal Bottles

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 61, No. 4, p. 683, 2012

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 1754629

9 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2011 Last revised: 16 Dec 2012

William R. Slomanson

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Date Written: February 3, 2011

Abstract

When most of us attended law school, we thought of its doctrinal thinking-like-a-lawyer approach as a rite of passage. It was the accepted condition precedent to our later learning the necessary skills via on the job training. In today's economy, however, savvy students are beginning to demand justification for the high cost of their education in terms of practice preparation. The presumptive "fix" is the draft American Bar Association Standard 302 and its Interpretations regarding Learning Outcomes. Law schools will thus be augmenting the traditional doctrinal curriculum with more skills training, to better prepare our graduates for entry-level jobs. This article provides some practical insight into "skillsifying" doctrinal courses. It may be especially relevant for those of us who teach today's four out of five law students who will begin their practice in solo or small and newly-formed law firms. One can introduce varying amounts of skills content into a doctrinal class, without having to create a discrete skills course. In the student-driven alternative described in this article (which focuses on practical writing and advocacy training) Socrates is now a traffic cop.

Keywords: legal education, skills training, Socratic dialogue, ABA Standard 302, learning outcomes, skills courses, doctrinal courses

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Slomanson, William R., Pouring Skills Content Into Doctrinal Bottles (February 3, 2011). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 61, No. 4, p. 683, 2012; Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 1754629. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1754629

William R. Slomanson (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4309 (Phone)

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