Experts in the Legal Field Question the Bar Exam…

See this interesting article on the New York Times website discussing proposals to change the Bar Exam!

Beyond Best Practices previewed at LegalED’s ILT2015

Several of the authors of chapters in the soon-to-be-released book, Beyond Best Practices in Legal Education, are speaking today at LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching conference at American University Washington College of Law.

I am now hearing from Kristen Tiscione from Georgetown Law and then Ruth Anne Robbins will be up.  Earlier today we learned from Warren Binford, Susan Brooks and Paula Schaefer who are all also collaborators in the book.

The editors of BBP have assembled an amazingly talented group of law professors to guide us as we move into the next era of legal education. The more I hear from them, learn from them, the more excited I am for the book to come out later this year.

Live from LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching Conference — Assessment

I am at LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching conference at American University Washington College of Law hearing from Prof Syd Beckman about Tips for Using Interactive Technology for Assessment.

Here are his 5 Tips for Assessment:

1. Plan and tie learning outcomes to assessment

2. Execute it — use interactive technology that can help with assessment; clickers, smart devices, online quizzes — these devices can

3. Evaluate the results of your assessments — final exam comes too late (no way of fixing it) but by providing formative assessment over semester the students and the professor can both make course corrections.  Profs can go back and reteach things that students are not understanding.  Everybody learns through formative assessment and let’s you provide meaningful feedback to students.

4. Document — important for everything, including compliance and tie courses to outcomes

5.  Revise — use what we learn to make improvements, iterate, alter lesson plans, add some assignments, compensate for excellent performance, change benchmarks.

This is the circle of assessment.  Because as you revise you can use that to plan and around you go in a circle.

Live from LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching — Michael Colatrella

Today, I am at the Igniting Law Teaching conference at American University Washington College of Law.  We are now hearing from Professor Michael Colatrella from McGeorge Pacific School of Law.  He is telling us what he learned about law teaching from being an art student.

Great ideas about how learning takes place over months and even years.  He wanted to become an artist — had given it up as a child. His grandmother had set him up to paint as a kid, but he gave it up.  Then he found an art studio in San Francisco with an atelier system for training people how to paint and draw.  The first class, 8 weeks for 4 hours/day, all you do is make sphere.  Then they given you one color.  Then black and white.

These are his take aways for law professors —

1.  it is great to put yourself back in a position of being a novice, a position of vulnerability and having lots of new information.  You get good dose of empathy from making yourself a student.

2. teach foundational skills before moving on.  Master one skill before moving on to the next.  Even if seems like you’re covering less, because doing it slowly, really doing it better and covering more.

3.  by having foundational skills, your students will go forth and be able to use them for advanced projects.

So the big secret — set clear learning objectives and provide frequent assessment and individualized feedback.  But we know that!  Research finds that there is a 400% increase in learning achievement when giving assessments and feedback throughout.  There are tools for assessment out there — use them!

You can watch the #ILT2015 conference live today,

Four Tips for How to Flip a Classroom, Prof Emmy Reeves

Live from LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching Conference, sponsored by CALI, and hosted by American University Washington College of Law.

Now up is Professor Emmy Reeves from University of Richmond Law School

Here are tips on how to flip a law school classroom:

1.  Start small — flip a narrow discrete part, parts that don’t lend themselves to high level socratic dialogue

2.  Low tech beats no tech — don’t need to be tech guru, start will narrated powerpoint slides, crete podcasts, record yourself on your computer

3.  keep it short and engaging — 10 minutes is outside limit, try to be as engaging as possible, use inflection in voice

4.  accountability — if use LMS, or even better, use quizzes at beginning of class to ensure watched and internalized material.

You can watch it live today at

LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching — WATCH LIVE TODAY

LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching 2015 is taking place now at American University Washington College of Law. Watch it live today.

The conference features talks by 30 law school academics and practitioners from the US, Canada and England in a TEDx-styled conference to share ideas on teaching methodologies. LegalED’s Teaching Pedagogy video collection includes many of the talks from last year’s conference, which have been viewed collectively more than 5000 times.

The panels for this year include: Law Teaching for the 21st Century, Applying Learning Theory to Legal Education, The Art and Craft of Law Teaching, Using Technological Tools for Legal Education, and Pathways to Practice. Here is a link to the topics, speakers and schedule.

Good News for Law Students: a Law Degree is Advantageous in the Long Run!

Researchers conclude that having a law degree over a bachelors degree alone is advantageous in the end.  The salary differential between a graduate with a law degree and one without, is favorable to the former, even in a bad economy.  The research also tells us not to worry about “timing” when going to law school.  Even during hard economic times, the value of a degree only decreases by $30,000 while the overall worth in the long run is $1 million.



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