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Almost ten years ago, I began writing occasionally about the future of legal education and the legal profession. Living and working in Pittsburgh, as I do, I was struck back then by possible parallels between the rise and demise of 20th century Steel, the American industry largely grown up in and centered on Pittsburgh’s enormous integrated steel mills, and the rise and threatened demise of the 20th century legal profession, largely grown up in and…
Just about two years ago, I posted a series of provocations that I titled, modestly, “An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future.” You can read them as blog posts here. I later collected the posts, polished them, and posted the entire thing to SSRN, as an essay. It’s time to prime the pump. The basic themes of the invitation were and are three: One, the challenges and opportunities that beset/confront…
I wrote a series of posts about law school casebooks and what close readings of their origins and uses can tell us about things that can and cannot be changed about legal education, higher education, and more. Here are the links, all in one place: A New Paper Chase Hitting the Books The Strangelovian Law School, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Casebook Bye the Book Closing the Book
This occasional series about the law school casebook, for decades the fundamental teaching unit of American law students and many law students elsewhere, makes the case that micro changes in pedagogical expectations – what we teach with, rather than what we teach – have the potential to open pathways to macro changes in institutional culture both in schools and in the broader profession.  Earlier posts have outlined the broad claim, explored the motivations and incentives…
In this series of posts about the law school casebook [first post here] [second post here], I’ve suggested that the casebook is both emblem and instrument of how the legal profession perpetuates itself as a field.  The obvious subtext is that I believe (along with others) that the profession is overdue for some substantial re-thinking and re-implementing, and that change begins at home. [Since this series began, the chorus of similar…
My occasional series about the law school casebook continues. [First post here.] This is about the future of law, law practice, the legal profession, and legal (and higher) education, filtered through the lens of contemporary law’s most essential artifact, the teaching tool that unites every professor, every lawyer, every judge, and every student, regardless of field, in a shared experience.  The casebook. Law professors love to write things like “use this as a…
This is about books.  It’s about legal education casebooks.  A lot of what follows comes out of my experience as a law professor and speaks to law schools and law students and the legal profession.  A lot of it dovetails with closely related questions about books and teaching and education in colleges and universities generally. But I’m not writing principally for the benefit of my faculty colleagues.  I’m writing principally for the benefit of practicing…
This post concludes a long response to a terrific recent piece by Mark Cohen, in which he critiqued law schools for failing to respond appropriately and systematically to an emerging “skills gap” between baseline legal education and the needs of the technology-dependent legal market.  The first part of the response, from two weeks ago, agreed with the gist of the critique but introduced the idea that the critique opens a broader window on…
This post continues a long response to a terrific recent piece by Mark Cohen, in which he critiqued law schools for failing to respond appropriately and systematically to an emerging “skills gap” between baseline legal education and the needs of the technology-dependent legal market. The first part of the response, from last week, agreed with the gist of the critique but introduced the idea that it opens a broader window on the relationship between…