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Monday, August 20, 2007

Summer Skills

For those of you who've wondered "Where in the World is Liz Glazer?" (Danny, Zak, and my mom), I didn't get the chance to blog at all last week because I taught an intensive one-week course in Business Drafting in Hofstra's Summer Skills Institute. While I teach and research at the intersection of First Amendment and Property laws, my former life was spent as a transactional real estate lawyer (a short former life, but a former life still), and that has allowed me to teach - with some street cred, even - Business Drafting and Transactional Lawyering courses.

I thought the message in Bill's post about the ABA Annual Meeting was important: the gap between academics and practitioners is too large, and that we would be well-advised to bridge that gap. After I read Bill's post, I resolved to get involved in at least one ABA section and to try my best to attend next year's annual meeting.

While some of the gap-bridging can be done outside of the classroom, some of it can be done from inside the classroom, as well. In January, the Wall Street Journal lamented law schools' focus on intellectual debate, and advocated increased practical skills offerings. I'm not sure I agree that law schools need to shift their focus away from intellectual debate, but increasing the number of "practical" courses in law schools (and these could take the form of clinics, corporate drafting courses, courses that map on to firm departments (e.g., real estate, appellate advocacy) as opposed to areas of scholarly interest (e.g., torts, contracts, evidence), trial advocacy skills courses) may not be a bad idea (both pedagogically, and because students seem to enjoy these types of courses).

I really enjoy teaching Transactional Lawyering and Business Drafting; it is an experience entirely different from teaching heavily doctrinal and theoretical courses like Property or First Amendment (which I also enjoy teaching very much). Teaching practical courses gives me a sense of connectedness with the real world. I find that, instead of calling upon academic perspectives, I call upon former clients' business motivations and the front page of the Wall Street Journal when answering students' questions. But after a week in "the real world," I am glad to be back in the library. Stay tuned this week for posts about, inter alia, my Facebook profile, internet-stalking, and the importance of "business plan statements" in scholarly writing.

Posted by Liz Glazer on August 20, 2007 at 07:49 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink


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Good, you're back. I was beginning to get worried.

Posted by: Zak | Aug 21, 2007 12:09:15 AM

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