Women’s Leadership in Academia Conference – Registration is Open

The Women’s Leadership in Academia Conference will be held July 19-20, 2018 at the University of Georgia’s School of Law in beautiful Athens, GA. The conference is being organized by the University of Georgia School of Law and the Women’s Leadership in Academia Initiative.

This conference provides substantive leadership programming aimed at advancing women law professors, law librarians, and clinicians in leadership positions in the academy.

Please visit the conference website at http://www.law.uga.edu/womens-leadership-academia-conference to see the schedule, read about supplemental events such as a CV review opportunity and an optional book club, and register to attend. The conference website also has information about travel and available hotel blocks.


Publishing “Building on Best Practices in Legal Education”

Regular readers of this blog know that a team of editors, authors and readers are hard at work on a follow up volume to Roy Stuckey (and others), Best Practices in Legal Education (2007), published by the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA).

I’m delighted to announce that the new volume, Building on Best Practices, expected out in early to mid-2015, will be published by Lexis. As a service to the legal education community, Lexis will make the book available to all law teachers for free through their Electronic Library. In addition, they state that they will do a print run of the book and provide copies for free on request.

Along with author Cynthia Batt, my co-editors Lisa Bliss and Carrie Kaas will be presenting on the book at this Friday’s New York Law School Clinical Theory Workshop, as I listen in eagerly from Seattle. If you’ll be in the area, please join the discussion. Contact Steve Ellman of NYLS for more information.

Building on Best Practices: Call for Ideas and Authors

The Clinical Legal Association, Best Practices Implementation Committee is planning a follow-up publication to Best Practices for Legal Education by Roy Stuckey and others.     The vision of the book is to build on ideas for implementing best practices, and to develop new theories and ideas on Best Practices for Legal Education.   If you would like to author a section in the book please let us know as soon as possible.   Then by December 1, 2011 send either of us a 3-5 page abstract identifying the knowledge, skills and values as well as the learning objectives and methodology of your innovative teaching idea.   The Editorial Board will meet at the AALS meeting in January to select pieces for inclusion in the book.


If you have any questions or thoughts about the project please feel free to contact either of us.


Looking forward to drawing  on the expertise of the legal academy to build on Best Practices for Legal Education!


Antoinette Sedillo Lopez ,Chair, Publication Committee

Deborah Maranville,  co-editor


Moving Beyond the Headlines

In recent months, the legal profession and legal education has come under attack by newspapers, bloggers, and even lawsuits in some cases. The fact is, unemployed law school graduates are unsatisfied with legal education which is entirely understandable given the level of debt many impose on themselves relying on a job that may not come.

It is very easy to be consumed by the headlines.  Just today a New York Post Op Ed was published entitled Do law schools defraud students? The article attacks law school employment statistics, in the same way that we have seen so many times since the economy turned south. This blog has posted about some of the articles in the past.

The ABA Journal also has an article by Debra Cassens Weiss entitled LSAC Considers Role Confirming Law School LSAT and Grade Stats, ABA Journal, discussing the Law School Admissions Council’s response to reports that two law school had inflated statistics about their incoming class.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly cares about the legal profession and legal education enough to focus on fixing problems rather than dwelling on them, or worse, ignoring them.  Stagnation in legal education is partially to blame for dissatisfaction.  Using the same courses and structures without focusing on practical skills leads to graduates that are not prepared to be productive lawyers.

For sure, law schools cannot teach students everything they need to know, but we can create engaged classrooms, make sure law students have met foundational learning objectives, and integrate practice into the classroom. We can ask students to engage in roleplaying to start developing skills and habits for handling the ethical issues they will face; we can prepare them for client interaction.

Not all change has to be drastic, and we do not have to aim for perfection right away. We need steps. Incremental change. New ideas that are formed through collaboration between the clinical, doctrinal, practical, lawyering and legal writing faculty.

One place to take the first step is at the  Center for Excellence in Law Teaching’s (CELT’s) inaugural conference on Setting and Assessing Learning Objectives from Day One that will bring together faculty from across the curriculum to explore how to set and assess foundational objectives for law students.

We encourage collaborative presentations from faculty teaching throughout the curriculum including those who teach in the first year, the upper level curriculum, the legal writing program, the lawyering program, and the clinical program. We also encourage collaboration between those who teach large doctrinal classes, perspective seminars, or advanced subject matter courses, with those who teach in clinic, in field placement, or in a capstone course. We welcome in particular those teachers and administrators who have experimented with school wide attempts to define and assess objectives

Please submit the presentation proposal to krama@albanylaw.edu by October 15, 2011.

Sharing Scholarship, Building Teachers Conference

Albany Law School will be hosting the Sharing Scholarship, Building Teachers conference on February 3-4, 2012.

This workshop is intended for law faculty who do not have tenure and who seek an opportunity to develop their scholarship and discuss their teaching with other, similarly situated law faculty. This program will provide a safe and comfortable forum for untenured faculty to present works in progress, solicit feedback from peers ahead of the February-March Law Review submission season, and network with other untenured faculty in the region about teaching practices and related issues.

There is no fee to attend the program (whether you are presenting a paper or not), but you must register before the deadline: November 15, 2011. Albany Law School will provide all meals and drinks during the workshop at no charge to attendees. 

I hope to see you all there,

 Sarah Rogerson
Assistant Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Family Violence Litigation Clinic

Interviewing and Counseling: A Teaching Workshop

From Professor Laurie Shanks, Clinical Professor of Law at Albany Law School

Albany Law School will be hosting a hands-on collaborative workshop entitled Interviewing and Counseling: A Teaching Workshop on November 11th, 2011 with an opening reception the evening of November 10th. The workshop is designed to address the significant challenges faculty face in teaching interviewing and counseling.

This event is a rare opportunity to collaborate on teaching methods specifically related to interviewing and counseling. The Workshop is designed for faculty who teach stand alone courses, clinicians who teach these skills as an integral part of preparing their students to represent clients, lawyering professors who introduce the skills to students in their first year of law school and doctrinal faculty who address these topics as part of their courses.

A unique feature of the event is the “swap meet” of written problems, syllabi, checklists, and teaching ideas, contributed by participants, that will be available to attendees. Additionally, there will be speakers addressing some of the most challenging aspects of teaching these skills, including how to create realistic simulations and proper assessment techniques.

For a more individualized experience, small groups will be organized to allow participants ample time to select from among various topics. These may include further discussion of large session topics as well as basics of course structure and content; choice of texts; and or other topics chosen by participants.

For more information, see the conference site: www.albanylaw.edu/clientteachingwksp

or email one of the Workshop organizers, Laurie Shanks lshan@albanylaw.edu, Harriet Katz, hnkatz@camden.rutgers.edu, or John Craft, jcraft@faulkner.edu.

Another Conference on Experiential Learning in a Specialty Area: International Law Clinics, Externships, Internships, and Advanced Research — Pace Law School, May 6

The day after the May 5 “Practically Grounded” conference, a joint project of Pace and Albany Law Schools to be held at Pace Law School in White Plains, half an hour north of New York City (see entry below), Pace Law will host another experiential learning-oriented conference, this time on behalf of the Teaching International Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and the American Branch of the International Law Association.  “Teaching International Law Beyond the Classroom: Engaging Students in Experiential Learning, in Web 2.0, and in Historical and Empirical Research”  will take place on Friday, May 6, 2011, from 8:45 am to 7:00 pm.

Noteworthy is the fact that at both Teaching Conferences, all participants will be offered a free copy of Best Practices for Legal Education: A Vision and A Road Map and the book will be referenced and used throughout by conference speakers and moderators.

The focus of this conference is getting both students and faculty involved in empirical research, historical research, Web 2.0, and experiential learning.  Beth Simmons of Harvard, one of the country’s leading empiricists in the field of international law, will be speaking along with Jordan Paust, Houston; Sital Kalantry, Cornell; Julian Ku, Hofstra; Peggy McGuiness, St. John’s; and Tom Lee, Fordham.  Anthony VanDuzer, of the Ottawa University Faculty of Law, will describe his NAFTA course, co-taught with a U.S. law professor and a Mexican law professor, using Skype to bring professors and students from the three countries together simultaneously.  Robert Van Lierop, former UN ambassador currently with the UN in Darfur, will discuss the externship program he supervises, in which Pace law students assist island countries with environmental issues at the United Nations.

A full schedule and additional information can be found here.

Input needed: Newest SRC Accreditation Revisions & Chicago Meeting

 As most of you already know, the ABA Standards Review Committee (SRC), the body that proposes changes to the law school accreditation standards for action by the ABA Council on Legal Education, is holding its next  public forum in Chicago during the morning of Saturday, April 2, 2011.   The SRC is actively considering issues concerning legal education broadly,  student learning outcomes,  faculty status, governance and security of position.   The SRC invited interested parties to submit written requests to speak and accepted my request for time to address the committee on April 2nd.

The SRC has released a new draft of the proposed Standards in preparation for the upcoming forum.  I now invite all of you readers to comment or e-mail me mlync@albanylaw.edu your thoughts on the current draft which you can read by clicking onto the Albany Law teaching center site, www.teachinglawstudents.com.  Earlier posts about earlier drafts including Professor Brill’s position on tenure, Professor Stuckey and Neumann’s thoughts, and CLEA’s Postion can be found right here on the Best Practices blog.

Although the current proposals include adjustments in response to earlier critiques, they continue to make faculty  tenure an optional requirement.   It will take careful reading to figure out how the learning outcomes part, plus the academic freedom, faculty governance and security of position portions all fit together.   I still have some unanswered bottomline questions under the new draft :  Will all  law students  have met and worked with a real live client before graduation?  Will those students have recieved feedback and assessment of their performance and learned skills to  improve  based on that experience and to seek assistance for their experiential deficits?

Please let me know your analysis of the current proposals and please try to join me in Chicago at

WHAT: ABA Standards Review Committee Meeting;

WHEN: April 2, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.


71 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-346-7100
Fax: 1-312-346-1740

A block of rooms at the Hotel 71 has been set aside for attendees by SALT

Course (Re)Design Conference

The research on change in higher education suggests that, in some settings, change only becomes likely when a significant minority of the faculty already has begun implementing change.  A two-day, forthcoming conference, co-sponsored by the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University, will allow faculty interested in change to make changes to their courses right now.  The conference is entitled “Course (Re)Design” and will be held March 18-19, 2011, at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law in Highland Heights, Kentucky. 

The conference will be of greatest benefit to professors confronted with teaching a new course and those who would like to reinvigorate their approach to a course they have previously taught. 

 By the end of the conference, participants will have engaged in

  1. setting course goals and learning objectives,
  2. designing formative and summative assessments,
  3. choosing teaching and learning methods, and
  4. selecting and creating teaching materials. 

For more information, please follow this link: http://lawteaching.org/conferences/2011courseredesign/.

Denver to Host Conference on Assessment Next Fall

I am pleased to announce that the University of Denver will be hosting a conference in September focused on Assessment in Legal Education.  Here is the opening paragraph for the request for proposals.  Check out the RFP and Conference program at:

 http://law.du.edu/index.php/assessment-conference Continue reading

2009 Legal Education at the Crossroads Conference

Save the date:   September 11-13, 2009  at University of Denver.

The topic:  Assessment.

Should be another good one.  More information to follow as it becomes available.  Thanks to Denver Dean Beto Juarez and chair of the Conference organizing committee Roberto Corrado!

Save the Date: Third Annual Indian Law Clinic and Externship Symposium and Workshop

June 7-9, 2009
Third Annual Indian Law Clinics and Externship Programs: Symposium and Workshop

Southwest Indian Law Clinic UNM School of Law
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
The Tribal Law Practice Clinic Washburn University School of Law
Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Where: Isleta Casino & Resort, Pueblo of Isleta (located just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico
Web site: http://www.isleta-casino.com Continue reading

Mark Your Calendars for the 2009 AALS Workshop on Clinical Legal Education

From Jane Spinak:

Dear Colleagues,
On behalf of the workshop committee, I am sending a brief description of the May workshop so that you can start planning your trip soon. We will be issuing RFPs in October for the two concurrent sessions that are being planned and for organizing the affinity group meetings described below. We will also be soliciting those musicians and singers among us who want to organize some of our musical activities. The Directors Day (May 5) is also being organized and we will have more information on that soon. We’re very excited about the collaborative work we’ve been doing with our clinical colleagues in Cleveland who have been extraordinarily helpful in drawing in some remarkable participants for the plenaries and in planning fun events. We hope to see many of you in Cleveland in May!
Jane Continue reading

University of Washington Legal Education at the Crossroads Conference

September 5-7, Seattle, WA

Register and check out the preliminary schedule here:


UW School of Law to host “Legal Education at the Crossroads”

The UW School of Law will host a working conference, Legal Education at the Crossroads — Ideas to Accomplishments: Sharing New Ideas for an Integrated Curriculum, September 5-7, 2008. The conference will be held on the UW campus at William H. Gates Hall, home to the law school. Continue reading

Legal Education at the Crossroads

I agreed to join the Best Practices Blog author list at the AALS clinical conference in Tucson , but of course it took me awhile to figure out how to actually do it.  Anyway, I’m delighted to be joining this exciting effort.

If I had any doubts that legal education is at a crossroads, those doubts wouldn’t have survived reviewing proposals submitted for the  University of Washington Law School’s upcoming conference on Legal Education at the Crossroads:  Ideas to Implementation to be held in Seattle on Sept 5-7.

We received over 80 responses to our request for proposals, probably double the number we’ll be able to accept.  Topics ranged from already implemented major curriculum reforms to novel individual classroom ideas.  They encompassed both Showcase station proposals to show-off existing efforts that might be replicated at other schools (I refer to these as “poster sessions on steroids”) and Workshop proposals for discussing not-yet implemented-ideas.

Because there’s been so much interest in this conference, we’ve decided to open it up to folks who aren’t presenting.  So much for our vision of a small intimate conference of 40-60!   Stay tuned.   We hope to have details available by the middle of June.  But you can mark your calendars now for spectacular Seattle in September!

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