Future Ed 2: Making Global Lawyers for the 21st Century – Final Plenary session

by Paul Maharg on 16/10/2010

Mitt Regan led the session discussion on technology — summarised below.  

Four summaries:

Professional Development Proposals


  1. One size doesn't fit all law schools
  2. There are a different set of competencies that might predict law student abilities
  3. There are different and broader sets of skills that need to be articulated
  4. There is a global context to all we do.
  5. Great to talk, but there should be a way to measure outcomes.

Four tasks:

  1. Collect the information about the skills we think are required — from lawyers, dom & international, alumni, etc  To be augmented by views of business and clients 
  2. Identify the competences to benchmark the skills
  3. Collect and evaluate the data to measure the outcomes
  4. Just do it: experiment with programmes, capstones, etc.


Technology related Proposals

Put together a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) report, on challenges, info on what's out there, templates & tools, transformative initiatives.  Four audiences:

  1. faculty already using technology — to trade resources, etc
  2. colleagues not currently involved in TEL
  3. regulators — ABA, eg, to provide a foundation for information about what is being used, to what effect.  Also on outcomes, learning theory.  Also regulatory bodies internationally.
  4. Law School administrators — eg roles in reaching alumni, use of gradebook technologies, Library, etc.  

The report is in part to provide legitimacy for new initiatives and for DL generally — changing a mindset.  It could also describe how technology can be used to explore not just legal unmet need, but also the legal education unmet need.  We're approaching CALI to provide a platform (via Ron Staudt) for the report.  Cd be a useful reporting mechanism, possibly an engine for change.  

Structural / Regulatory Proposals

There was a mission-definition issue floating around, and the group had interests in defining competencies.  Recognition that different stages had different needs.  Lots of risks to innovations, and there was a need to legitimate risk-taking in law schools.


Public Sphere Proposals

Discussion focused on clinical legal education.  Experiential learning and skills were well represented there, but entrepreneurship models and content was still required.  Not enough time on moral imagination and reflection in clinic.  Clinic was overwhelmingly focused on domestic models, not interational.  Resources were discussed as an issue.  Pro bono isn't enough to solve resource constraints — private sector needs to be involved much more.  There isn't a discrete public sector but multi-faceted.  Some ideas re April deadline:

  1. a non-profit social entrepreneurship course
  2. Summer theory institute
  3. ALSF (Africa Legal Support ?) — cd be supported by financial sector
  4. immigration clinic, eg the one in Canadian law school (Western..?)

David Wilkins summarised.  The energy levels were incredible he said.  Totally agree.  Dean Minow said it was an inflection point, nice phrase and she was right.  David pointed out how difficult the endeavour was to improve legal education; but that creating the community was key.  You cd get more money: time was the really critical element.  He thanked all involved in organising.  And John Berry thanked Elizabeth Chambless and David Wilkins.  

More reflection later, tomorrow, when I've had time to talk to some folk tonight and get some sleep.


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