RFP: Best Practices Conference at the University of Washington


Legal Education at the Crossroads

Ideas to Accomplishments:  Sharing New Ideas for an Integrated Curriculum

Friday, September 5, 5-9 p.m.

Saturday, September 6, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, September 7, 9 a.m. – noon

University of Washington School of Law, William H. Gates Hall

Seattle, Washington

The University of Washington School of Law requests proposals to participate in a working conference on transforming legal education based on the suggestions in the Carnegie Report, Sullivan, et al., Educating Lawyers:  Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007) and supported by the recent study, Stuckey et al., Best Practices for Legal Education (2007). While we will be championing existing transformative efforts, our principal goal is to help participants develop, expand, and assess projects anywhere along the spectrum between ideas and recently-initiated innovations.  Consequently, while participants in the conference will gain a sense of what law schools are already doing to implement the Carnegie and CLEA Reports, participants’ primary benefit will be the opportunity to develop their own ideas as they share and explore those ideas in facilitated groups.


Anyone interested in significant legal education reform should attend, including deans, chairs of curriculum committees, faculty engaged in reform efforts and faculty who hope to initiate reform efforts.  Law schools attending to develop their own ideas for change are encouraged to send two or three representatives.


We are planning a small, working conference of approximately 40 to 60 participants.  There will be no registration fee, and some meals will be provided. Participants will pay for their own transportation and hotel costs.

The precise structure of the conference will be determined by the proposals received.  We currently anticipate that the conference will include two discrete segments:

1)  Idea Bank:  Showcase Stations.    Showcase contributors will bring descriptions and materials from curriculum reform efforts that are already implemented, or substantially in progress, to begin creating an “Idea Bank”.  These materials will be designed to inspire other schools to replicate the efforts and to help them do so by providing information and materials, describing staffing needs, and elaborating on the process of adopting the innovation.   The other participants will have a “musical chairs” opportunity to move among “stations” at which these curriculum integration efforts are showcased.  Each station will offer a question and answer session.

2)      Working Discussion Groups.  Participants will submit ideas for curricular change and discuss their ideas with a supportive group of colleagues with expertise in a range of areas and led by a skilled facilitator.


Curriculum redesign efforts fall on a continuum that includes:

·         school-wide redesign of an entire curriculum;

·         redesign of a significant part of a law school’s curriculum, such as the law school’s 1L or 2L and 3L programs;

·         restructure of or creation of a new aspect of a law school’s curriculum, such as rethinking the law school’s new student orientation or creating a portfolio or capstone learning experience;

·         redesign of the content of an individual course. 

The conference sponsors hope to include a range of proposals falling along different points of the continuum.  We anticipate that a higher proportion of the accepted proposals will involve ambitious, novel and creative efforts that required significant collaboration within the institution and are designed for all of the students attending the particular law school.  However, we expect to include some proposals for projects that have been, or could be, implemented by a single faculty member.  The goal is to encourage institutional reform but also to encourage innovation by faculty whose institutions are not ready for large scale change.


The conference sponsors welcome proposals of two types:

1)      Showcase Proposals.  Proposals to showcase implemented, successful, curriculum reform efforts that integrate the intellectual, skills, and professional formation apprenticeships described in the Carnegie Report.  These should be proposals that seem likely to inspire similar efforts by other schools and could be at least partially replicated in other environments.  Each accepted proposal will be showcased in an Idea Bank session as described above.

2)      Proposals for Working Discussion Groups.  Proposals to discuss and receive feedback on ideas for curriculum integration efforts.  These efforts may be underway, but still subject to modification, or not yet implemented, but under serious discussion, or even at the brainstorming stage.  Each accepted proposal will be discussed by a small group of faculty and administrators with different areas of expertise and led by an expert facilitator.


Please submit your proposal in the following form by May 15, 2008.

Showcase Station Contributors: 

1.      Contact Information:  Give full name, title, law school represented, address and telephone number for all contributors. 

·         Name(s) (Designate contact person)

·         Law school

·         Address(es)

·         Telephone, FAX numbers, e-mail

2.      Descriptive Title and Short Description (no more than 50 words):    Please provide a curricular change category and title that describe your effort and a description of what your school did.  Your description should be no more than 50 words.  If your proposal is accepted, this title and description will be used in conference materials.

3.      Audio-Visual Equipment:  Please describe the audio/visual requirements for your proposal.  If your effort includes a website that you plan to display, please provide the web address.

4.      Additional Materials:  Please describe the written materials you plan to use for your presentation or group discussion.  If your proposal is accepted, these written materials will be due by August 20, 2008.  These materials should include the following:

·         a one-page summary of your project, including an explanation how your effort is consistent with learning theory or educational research;

·         a one-page summary of the process by which your law school adopted the proposal;

·         supporting materials that would be useful to an institution attempting to replicate your effort;

·         links to any websites used in your effort;

·          and citation(s) to, or copies of, any articles written about the effort or that support the choices you made. 

Working Discussion Group Proposals: 

1.      Contact Information:  Give full name, title, law school represented, address and telephone number for all contributors.  For working discussion group proposals, law schools are encouraged to send more than one representative up to a maximum of three.

·         Name(s) (Designate contact person)

·         Law school

·         Address(es)

·         Telephone, FAX numbers, e-mail

2.  Materials.  The materials should include the following:

·         a one-page summary of your idea and, if you know, how it is supported by learning theory or educational research;

·         a one-page summary of where you are in the process of implementing the idea along with your reflections on obstacles to doing so;

·         and anything else someone from outside your institution would need to quickly understand your project.

Note:  To encourage further innovation, the conference planners expect to make all proposals, both Showcase and Workshop, available to the larger legal education community.


Once the conference organizers have received all the proposals, the organizers will select specific proposals and presenters for the conference.  The Conference organizers expect to be able to notify all submitting parties of their participation status by late-June, 2008.




If you don’t have e-mail access, please fax your proposal to 206.685.2388.


For further information, you may contact Debbie Maranville, 206.685.6803, or Michael Hunter Schwartz, 785-670-1666.

Conference committee:

Roberto Corrada,

U. of Denver, Sturm Coll. of Law

Paula Lustbader,

Seattle University School of Law

Debbie Maranville

U. of Washington School of Law

Ed Rubin

Vanderbilt University Law School

Michael Hunter Schwartz

Washburn University School of Law

Alice Thomas

Howard University School of Law

Judith Wegner

U. of North Carolina School of Law

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