Reforming the Law School Curriculum from the Top Down

Forthcoming, Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 64

Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 335

14 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2014 Last revised: 23 Nov 2014

Date Written: September 15, 2014

Abstract

With growing consensus that legal education is in turmoil if not in crisis, law schools need to take advantage of industry upheaval to catalyze innovation in the way they train their students. Curriculum reform, long the “third rail” of faculty politics, is now essential if some law schools are going to survive the present tsunami of low enrollments and stagnant hiring. One cautiously optimistic note within this doomsday symphony is that law school deans are now in extremely strong bargaining positions with their faculties and boards of trustees with respect to curriculum innovation.

In this essay, the author proposes a pivotal reform to the third year curriculum involving team-taught “Advanced Legal Problem Solving” workshops in subject specific areas, and describes the precise structure, content and staffing of such capstone courses. He argues that such workshops would significantly enhance the preparation of law students for entry into the profession, and would create an efficient and cost-effective route for law schools to satisfy rigorous new ABA accreditation standards regarding experiential learning and outcomes assessment.

Suggested Citation

Cassidy, R. Michael, Reforming the Law School Curriculum from the Top Down (September 15, 2014). Forthcoming, Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 64; Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 335. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2496561

R. Michael Cassidy (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-4343 (Phone)

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