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by Vault Law Editors | March 13, 2008


A few months ago we noted that some law schools are modifying their traditional classroom curricula in an effort to better prepare students for the real-life practice of law.


The National Law Journal reports today that Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia is going to replace all academic classes for third-year students with “experiential” learning. Instead of burying their heads in casebooks and dodging professors’ questions, students will participate in simulated negotiations or oral arguments and consult with other lawyers-to-be in problem-solving sessions. In addition to role-playing scenarios, students may meet with real clients—and they’ll even be expected to keep track of their billable hours, just like real lawyers.


The school’s goal, according to the description on its web site is “to transform law school into a three-year progression from the purely academic study of law to the development of the lawyer’s professional role as counselor and advocate in the highest ethical traditions of the profession.”


To explain the thinking behind the new program, Dean Rod Smolla cites “the wisdom of a Chinese proverb”:

“Tell me, I will forget.  Show me, I will remember.  Involve me, I will understand.”


- posted by vera


Filed Under: Law

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