Curriculum reform is in the air at law schools. Spurred on by the recent report of the Carnegie Foundation and bold statements of “revolutionary” initiatives undertaken by major law schools, faculties and students are examining whether the needs of society and the profession are being served by the way law is taught and learned today.
A principal problem identified by the Carnegie Foundation is that law schools do not focus enough on what it means to be a lawyer. While schools are very effective in teaching abstract concepts, particularly in the first year, once students have learned how to “think like lawyers,” they are not trained in the skills or culture so necessary to be lawyers. To meet this challenge, schools are urged to experiment with substantive specializations in the second and third years and to increase clinical offerings that give students real-world experience.
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