Preparing for Service: A Template for 21st Century Legal Education

31 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015

See all articles by Michael J. Madison

Michael J. Madison

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: August 12, 2015

Abstract

Legal educators today grapple with the changing dynamics of legal employment markets; the evolution of technologies and business models driving changes to the legal profession; and the economics of operating – and attending – a law school. Accrediting organizations and practitioners pressure law schools to prepare new lawyers both to be ready to practice and to be ready for an ever-fluid career path. From the standpoint of law schools in general and any one law school in particular, constraints and limitations surround us. Adaptation through innovation is the order of the day.

How, when, and in what direction should innovation take place? Who should lead, guide, and participate? These are questions often asked in both legal education in particular and in higher education in general. Rarely are answers accompanied by specific examples, strategies, or programs. This paper offers precisely that specificity. It documents one institution’s process and output, beginning with the concept of innovation in the face of multiple challenges and proposing one set of concrete, actionable strategies, tactics, and programs. These range from school-wide interventions to ideas for use at the level of the individual faculty member and course.

The purpose of making the paper available is to note merely that if innovation is a hill to be climbed, then it can be climbed. The process and results may be more valuable if they are shared with others, even if the particular route documented here is not the only one available and may not the best for all times and places.

Keywords: Law school, legal education, organizational change, pedagogy, teaching, experiential learning, professional identity, identity formation, law students, curricular reform, curriculum, innovation, strategic planning

Suggested Citation

Madison, Michael J., Preparing for Service: A Template for 21st Century Legal Education (August 12, 2015). U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2646931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2646931

Michael J. Madison (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-7855 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

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