California Bar – bold proposal to require skills training

I just learned this from Kate Kruse, President of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA).

Tomorrow, June 11, 2013, the California Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform will be meeting in San Francisco to consider its Final Report

Importantly, the Task Force Report includes a recommendation that all applicants for admission to the California bar complete 15 credits of professional skills training while in law school or engage in other pre-admission apprenticeships.  If this proposal passes, it has the potential for widespread effect on law schools (even outside of California) whose students sit for the California bar.

As with most good ideas, of course, the “devil is in the details.”  CLEA has been following the debate within California with interest and has submitted three statements, on April 17May 30, and June 10, which can be found on the CLEA website’s Advocacy page.  In these statements, we urge the Task Force to give its pre-admission skills training requirement teeth and to keep it from being watered down with definitions of professional skills courses that are so broad or vague that they fail to capture the type or quality of experiential education that prepares students for the practice of law.  And, we urge that at least one-third of the pre-admission requirement be devoted to experiential learning in clinics or externships, where students get the uniquely valuable opportunity to learn in real-practice settings.
If the California Task Force adopts its Report tomorrow, the recommendations will go on to the State Bar and then the California Supreme Court for approval–a process that might happen as quickly as the end of this summer.  Then, the work of an implementation committee will begin, hammering out some of the difficult details of the scope and definition of the professional skills requirement.

One Response

  1. Will it include writing courses in the definition of qualifying professional skills? Should it?

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