Re: September 2013 NYSBA Journal issue on the Future of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar.
Below is a slightly edited version of an email conversation between Dave Schraver, president of the New York State Bar Association and the Hon. Barry Kamins.
I wanted to raise an issue with you concerning legal education which I know will be one of your priorities in the coming year.
My sister-in-law is in charge of medical education at Hofstra Medical School, i.e., she is in charge of teaching academics how to teach medical students.
As she has explained it to me, there is currently a major transformation in medical education and the model for educating doctors is changing for the first time since 1910. Every medical school is or is about to adopt to this changing model of how we train medical educators to train future doctors.
Why couldn't you propose a similar topic for discussion this year--how do we prepare legal educators to make sure they are giving our students the best education especially when they are now teaching the "millennial generation, those born between 1982 and 2005? As we know, just putting an academic in front of a classroom in law school and having him or her lecture has been the model forever. We need to develop a model for training legal educators to cope with the challenges of the new generation. They listen differently and learn differently than we did. I know--I have been teaching at law school for the last fifteen years and have seen the change.
Hope to be able to discuss this with you.
I would be very interested in talking with you about this and bringing you current with what we/our Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar are doing.
I enjoyed reading the September issue of the Bar Journal and found many of the articles quite interesting, including William Sullivan's article on linking licensing to a performance-based curriculum. However none of the articles addressed the point I raised with you: we need to address how we prepare legal educators to teach the law students of today's new generation. The issues in the Journal--curriculum, clinical education, licensing, bar exam--all focus on the students and not on the teachers. While the medical profession has taken this issue head on and it has become a national one (see my prior email) it may be that its time has not yet come for our profession. I'm hoping our Committee can address this in a meaningful way.
I'm glad you found the September issue interesting. By copy of this reply to our excellent co-chairs, Eileen Kaufman and Eileen Millett, I invite them to review our email chain and ask them to include your point in the Committee's work. Thanks for your interest in these issues. I look forward to seeing you.
Re: Prof. Adele Bernhard's article "Should Skills Training Be Required for Licensing?"
I enjoyed your article in the NYSBA Journal on "Should Skills Training Be Required for Licensing?"
I wanted to send you a quick note on the following regarding my time in London and how skills training is required for attorneys in the United Kingdom.
After graduating from law school years ago I went on to London where I received an LL.M. in Entertainment Law from the University of Westminster (I am an entertainment attorney in NY).
In the UK, after law school, to become an attorney, the individual must then go on to complete a one year "practicals" course to take what they have learned in law school (an LL.B. Degree) and learn to apply it to the practice of law. One program is for solicitors and another for barristers. After finishing the course they then go on to a pupilage (which is extremely competitive to attain) with a law firm before being "called to the bar." One of my classmates wanted a pupilage with a large firm so after she completed an LLB, she earned a BBA, an MBA and then entered an LL.M. program in International Law.
Many students who receive an LLB choose not to become attorneys in the UK - choosing either to go to the U.S. to practice or use the law degree in another area such as business or politics.
Many of my classmates in the UK (I was the only American accepted that year) were surprised that after school and passing the bar there were no other educational requirements to become an attorney in the U.S. I explained that some U.S. states have CLE requirements but many do not, which further surprised many of my classmates.
When I returned to the U.S. many of my professors (who were not familiar with the UK system) began to think about how we can incorporate a similar program to teach the "real life" practice of law into school classrooms.
Thank you for your time.
Ethan Bordman, Esq., MBA, LL.M.
Re: Edna Wells Handy's article "Blacks, the Bar Exam and Lean Six Sigma"
What a wonderful article in the NYS Bar Journal. Some day I would like to tell you the story of the Boddie Petition made to the NY Ct. of Appeals with respect to the Bar Exam. So proud of you.