A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers


Student Falling Asleep While Cramming

It seems SA is actually in a very similar boat to the US regarding changes in legal education:

The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, gathered in Dallas a few days ago (FEBRUARY 2013)  for a public hearing at the association’s midyear meeting to talk about

profound and seemingly irreversible shifts facing the legal profession – and the need to contemplate radical changes to its educational system


Here are some extracts:

“Paula Littlewood, a task force member and the executive director of the Washington State Bar Association, put it this way to her colleagues: “There’s a time for incremental change and a time for bold change. This is the time for bold change.”

Nicholas W. Allard, who became the dean of Brooklyn Law School in New York last summer after a career in government and private practice, said that in the past, graduates of elite schools arrived at major law firms with little knowledge of the actual practice of law. As a result, corporations hiring those firms felt that their large hourly bills were in effect going to train those graduates, who were assigned some of their work. Mr. Allard said those corporations are no longer willing to do that.”

As a result, he said, law schools need to have far more practical training and closer ties to the legal profession. That has led a number of schools to choose deans from within the profession, like Mr. Allard, rather than from academia.

“The problem is that we have been selling only one product,” Mr. Moffitt said. “But if you are getting a business degree, you need to know about contract law. City planners need to know about land-use law. So we at Oregon are educating not just J.D.*  students.”

[*LLB in South Africa]


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