Integrating Transactional Skills Training into the Doctrinal Curriculum
18 TRANSACTIONS: THE TENNESSEE JOURNAL OF BUSINESS LAW 439 (2016)
33 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 28, 2017
The post-Recession demand for increased skills education in law school has spawned rich experimentation in course development and pedagogy. Less progress has been made, however, in developing holistic and sustainable curricula. Among the many challenges is the high per-student cost of delivering hands-on skills-oriented learning. The success of many law school initiatives to improve practice-readiness will depend in large part on the viability of merging skills education into the traditional large-class format. This published presentation, delivered at the Emory Law School Center for Transactional Law & Practice, examines four models of teaching transactional workplace law skills, based on the author’s ten years of experimentation in integrating skills and doctrinal learning. The examples range from a low enrollment, full-on simulation course co-taught by doctrinal and skills faculty; to a full-sized podium course that included a discrete skills exercise; to a “lecture and lab” approach that involved parallel podium and skills courses; to a hybrid approach that used problems to frame, test, and expand on basic doctrinal learning. The presentation explores the costs and benefits of each approach and draw preliminary conclusions about the role of various models of integrated learning in achieving comprehensive, long-term curricular reform.
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