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Monday, July 13, 2009

Barros on Advanced Placement for Law School

Just to throw a little more spicy paprika into the "how should we re-engineer law school?" mix, Ben Barros Images from Widener (otherwise known as PropertyProf) has a post suggesting that basic doctrinal law courses be taught at the undergraduate level, and that students be offered the chance to place out of them when entering law school (akin to the Advanced Placement program that exists between colleges and high schools). 

Teaching undergrads sounds like fun; at the law school level, this cure may be worse than the disease.  But it's out of the box!

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on July 13, 2009 at 07:50 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink


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As someone who regularly teaches undergraduates let me put in a plug for this idea. There is nothing about legal doctrine that makes it less fit for undergraduate study than Shakespeare's sonnets or Thomas Hobbes Leviathan. Moreover, the large size lecture format that ends up dominating first year and major doctrinal second and third year courses in law schools today, fits better pedagogically with the experience of undergraduate education (especially lower division classes) and always seems a kind of abrupt regression after the usually smaller and more participatory classes of the final two years of undergraduate study. Undergraduate students are also more fun to teach in many regards (far less tired of education and pissy with anxiety about the job and marital markets). Assuming law schools then offered these students a rich mix of clinics, advanced courses, and collaborative research opportunities with faculty, they might find the three more years of education less demoralizing and more useful.

Posted by: Jonathan Simon | Jul 13, 2009 11:29:14 AM

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