National Law Journal: Temple Dean JoAnne A. Epps Describes the Current “Tipping Point” For Law Schools & Her School’s Re-Evaluation of Upper Level Curriculum

As I read Dean JoAnne Epps July 20th National Law Journal’s opinion piece on the call to legal education reform, I am reminded that each one of us understands the themes and threads of this movement differently. These differing threads and themes weave together in rich texture and ultimately strengthen the commitment to reform.

A Tipping Point for Law Schools

According to Dean Epps, clients are the change-agents. They have refused to underwrite the training of new lawyers and demanded that their matters be handled by experienced lawyers.  For Epps, the clients’ demands have forced our profession to ask where will the next generation of attorneys obtain experience? Epps doesn’t pretend to have all the answers and raises many questions about whether and how law schools should meet that need for experiential learning.   She calls for a dialogue which “harnesses our collective experiences from across the spectrum of the industry to think strategically about the role legal education should play during the next 20 to 50 years.”

Epps offers, as one option, her own school’s ”ambitious plan” to re-evaluate the upper-level curriculum.  Temple has established a corporate clerkship program to give students hands-on experience in corporate legal departments and is considering partnering judges and practitioners with professors to offer courses that blend high-level theory with current insights from the field.

What do you know about Temple’s plan? What if any changes has your school made to the upper level curriculum?

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