Teaching After Dark: Part-Time Evening Students and the First-Year Legal Research & Writing Classroom
Bonny L. Tavares
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
Rebecca Lee Scalio
Widener University Delaware Law School
Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 17, 2011
Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-33
This article is the first to examine the evening legal research and writing (LRW) classroom and to provide detailed guidance concerning LRW course design, pedagogy, and best practices for teaching part-time evening J.D. students. National interest in part-time legal education has grown in the past two years, as evidenced in 2009 by the first ever U.S. News & World Report ranking of part-time J.D. programs at accredited law schools. This recent attention has brought renewed interest in the structure of part-time evening programs and the best ways to educate these unique students so they receive the same rigorous training as their full-time peers. Historically, evening programs provided opportunities for people to attend law school who were barred from full-time day programs due to their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or economic status. Today, evening programs continue to provide sometimes the only path to a legal career for those students whose financial or familial responsibilities prevent them from enrolling in law school full-time during the day.
With all of this, however, there is a dearth of information regarding the best methods to teach the first-year LRW course, an intense experience for all students and one that can pose particular problems for “traditional” part-time students and their professors. In this article, Professors Tavares and Scalio discuss the evolution of part-time legal education in this country, describe who the part-time evening student is, and explain the advantages and disadvantages of attending law school in a part-time evening program. Based on their experiences teaching LRW to evening students, they provide suggestions for a more effective LRW learning environment for part-time evening students - both from a broader programmatic standpoint and from the more focused pedagogical classroom experience.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 55
Keywords: legal research and writing, LRW, part-time, J.D. programs, evening students, evening programs, teaching, LRW pedagogy, legal education, law schools, LRW programs, LRW best practices
JEL Classification: K00
Date posted: August 18, 2011 ; Last revised: December 31, 2012