Towards Engaged Scholarship
40 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2013 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017
Date Written: May 2, 2013
The practice-oriented influences of the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers and the report of the Clinical Legal Education Association, Best Practices for Legal Education, have been working on the academy for only five years; law teachers are just now learning how they can better prepare their students to practice law “effectively and responsibly in the contexts they are likely to encounter as new lawyers.” These reports have stimulated a vast literature on how law professors can improve their teaching methods, how law schools can alter their curricula, and how the legal academy as a whole can prioritize skills education.
Much less attention has been paid to the connection between legal scholarship and the practice of law. For many law professors, there is an intuitive link between their teaching and scholarship. Does that link apply to teaching law students to be more practice-oriented, and what precisely does that mean? Should our scholarship examine more regularly the problems that practitioners confront and the contexts in which they arise? This article addresses these pressing questions in the context of legal scholarship as a context and opportunity.
This article presents the reflections of sixteen law professors on linkages between scholarship and the legal profession. From these reflections, several themes are identified that lead to new perspective on legal scholarship in a time of dynamic change in the law school education. This article begins a dialogue on engaged scholarship and concludes with the some proposed directions for critical reflection on the roles of law professors as academics and as molders of the careers of their students.
Keywords: legal scholarship, teaching, legal profession, education, pedagogy
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