Madisonian

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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…
US law schools today are subjected to a lot of criticism, much of it deserved. One big chunk that is not always deserved is this: Law schools aren’t sufficiently in tune with the needs of the market. That’s the topic of this post and others to come: What, when, how, and why should law schools care about the market? For the moment, I set aside other common critiques of legal education, many of which are…
Change is one of the themes of this rebooted blog.  In law, legal services, the legal profession, and legal education, what does change look like?  Why and how is change happening?  How can we accelerate the pace of needed change?  What does change management in the law look like, if we want to produce better lawyers, more nimble and flexible law schools, improve access to justice, expand the range and impact of legaltech, and more?…
Last week, I wrote about training T-shaped lawyers and about the challenges that law schools face in matching their traditional strengths to the emerging interests and needs of the legal services industry. I promised an example of those challenges: leadership education. For the first time in my experience in the law, and perhaps for the first time in their institutional history, US law schools have started to invest resources in training law students and new…
Talk around “legaltech” and related legal innovation environments has focused recently on “T-shaped” lawyers. “T-shaped” lingo has even penetrated some parts of BigLaw. These conversations apply to law the “T-shaped” concept that has circulated in professional development circles for a bit longer, arguing that successful professionals increasingly need not only deep technical skills in the relevant discipline (the vertical bar) but also a solid suite of related general skills (the horizontal bar). What’s right, what’s…