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Rethinking the Curriculum for Balance

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: This article is a chapter in the new book, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., forthcoming Lexis 2015.) The article discusses some of the key substantive questions relating to the content of curricular reform in legal education. The authors take the view that the typical curriculum in law schools is too heavily doctrinally-oriented and suggest that a better balance can be struck to maximize law student readiness for professional practice. The authors advocate: 1) adopting more practice-oriented experiential education and being more selective about which purely doctrinal courses should be taught; 2) providing an expanded mix within the law school of teaching settings (large and small classes, group learning, and one-on-one settings) and teaching methods (lecture, Socratic dialogue, in-class exercises, large- or small-group discussions, presentations, simulations, and work on actual legal problems); and 3) providing a wider range of learning experiences as part of the formal curriculum that take place outside of the law school (e.g. field experiences, moot court programs, mentorship programs, student-run volunteer projects with volunteer lawyers’ involvement, and other outside programs involving practitioners who are not full-time faculty.)

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