March 22, 2013

Update on LEAPS

By Jill Gross

As many of our readers know, the Legal Education, ADR and Practical Problem-Solving Project (LEAPS) of the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution Law Schools Committee was launched in 2010 to promote the teaching of practical problem-solving in law school so as to improve legal education.  I am on the Executive Committee, along with Deborah Eisenberg, Jim Hilbert, John Lande, Jean Sternlight and J. Kim Wright.  Here are a few updates from the Executive Committee:

We have just added a page with consultants on property law courses, so you can contact them or refer colleagues to them as appropriate.  See http://leaps.uoregon.edu/content/property.

We have added a webpage with a guide for leading discussions about legal education.  See http://leaps.uoregon.edu/content/suggestions-discussions-about-legal-education.   Law schools regularly arrange faculty talks and your colleagues may be particularly interested in talking about improving instruction, considering the current pressures on legal education.  Although it may be too late in the year to plan talks for this academic year, you might keep this in mind when planning talks for next year.

If you are involved in arranging speakers for your school, you might suggest that it sponsor a discussion about incorporating more practical problem-solving (PPS) in its courses.  You might lead an in-house discussion in your own school or suggest inviting an outside speaker, such as a member of the LEAPS executive committee or one of our subject area consultants.  The website includes a template for a powerpoint presentation about incorporating PPS generally and another template for a presentation about using simulations in courses.  Of course, you should tailor the presentation to fit your audience etc.

We hope that you find this useful.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know.

JG

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Comments

  • Jay Williams says:

    After visiting the LEAPS website, I am thoroughly impressed. The criticism of law school not preparing its students for the actual work of a lawyer is well known. I believe that programs such as this are vital to reforming education in the legal sector. As a student, I expected a much larger emphasis on PSS in my law school experience. To me, especially with the recent influx of ADR into the legal society, it is just a matter of time until legal education is transformed. The question is: How is it done? I believe that a plan targeted at law professors, such as this one, is ideal. Identifying the barriers to enforcing such a teaching method is difficult. To me, such a teaching method is logical. But clearly, there are deep-rooted ideologies and institutions blocking this from really igniting in the legal education community.

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