International Conference on the Future of Legal Education: Update and Report

The International Conference on the Future of Legal Education was held recently, Feb. 20-23, and it was the most comprehensive look to date concerning new initiatives in legal education around the world.  The materials from the conference are available at http://law.gsu.edu/FutureOfLegalEducationConference/index.php, and this post will briefly mention just a few of the highlights. 

Although a majority of the presenters discussed changes in the U.S., some of the most far-reaching advances in legal education are occurring in Australian law schools.  Professor Richard Johnstone, Griffith Law School, outlined recent developments in Australian legal education and reported on the review of the Griffith Law School Curriculum in 2004, that incorporates legal theory, ethics, skills and justice throughout the curriculum.  Professor Jeff Giddings, Griffith Law School, identified the processes that are useful in reviewing and renewing the law school curriculum, and he described how Griffith conducted its curriculum review, how the law school is implementing the changes, and how the law school plans to evaluate the changes.  Dean Gary Davis, Flinders University, and Professors Sally Kift, Queensland University, and Kay Lauchland, Bond University, discussed their law schools efforts that are transforming legal education in Australia. 

            

In addition to the innovations in Australia, Professor Paul Maharg, from Glasgow Graduate School of Law, discussed how his school is using technology to create virtual law firms with structured, interactive client problems that simulate the practice of law for students.  Professor M.R.K. Prasad, V.M. Salgaocar College of Law, discussed clinical education in India, discussed the role that clinical legal education is playing in Inida, and Professor David McQuoid-Mason, University of KwaZulu-Natal, discussed how legal education is contributing to positive changes in South Africa. 

There were also examples from several law schools in the U.S. that have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, curricular changes.  Although some degree of change is percolating in a number of law schools, few of the deans or professors from U.S. law schools discussed any initiatives that were as far reaching as some of those underway in other parts of the world. 

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