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Friday, April 06, 2018

Legal Ed's Futures: No. 50 (Michele Pistone)

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful engagement in this symposium.  I have learned a lot from the conversation and I hope we can figure out ways to continue discussing these important issues. 

I write today from Boston, where I am attending the AshokaU Exchange.  I was invited to give a “Big Ideas” Talk - TEDx-style – about a new educational program I am developing at my institution, Villanova University, to train non-lawyer immigrant advocates to represent immigrants in immigration court and before the Department of Homeland Security.  The talk was videotaped and I will share the link when it becomes available.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ashoka, it was founded by a lawyer (another example of using a law degree successfully outside the law) and is focused on social entrepreneurship and change-making.  It identifies and empowers people who are making systems changes in their communities.  Ashoka partners with universities around the world – change-maker campuses – to support education about change-making and systems changes.  It works around the world and has close to 40 years of experience in making change.  The topics that are being discussed here include: leading change; scaling and systems change; challenging conventional wisdom; systems intrapreneurs in higher education; and diagnosis to the resisting change syndrome, among others.

AshokaU is interested in finding ways to support change and change-making in law and legal education and to equip law school graduates with the tools they need to make change in the world.  To advance this aspect of its mission, the conference has a “law track” and yesterday’s conversation among the lawyers who are here was focused on how to make systems changes in legal education and the profession.  It was an invigorating conversation, during which some of the topics that have been talked about during this symposium were discussed.  As I reflected on that conversation, I realized that so many of these conversations are taking place in parallel, in silos.

I would love to think about ways to incorporate Ashoka’s change-making framework and experience into our discussions within the legal academy on systems change.  I believe that the most robust and impactful changes we can make in and for legal education and the legal system involves rethinking our systems.  I know others agree because many of the posts – by Dan Hunter, Kellye Testy, Dan Rodriguez, Michael Madison, Deborah Merritt, Bill Henderson, Megan Carpenter, Hari Osofsky, and others – suggest systems changes. 

To start, I invite those of you who are teaching at law schools on Ashoka changemaker campuses – Boston College, Cornell, Fordham University, George Mason University, Northeastern, Tulane, St Thomas, University of San Diego, University of Colorado, and I may have missed a few more – to share with the legal academy more about what is already happening on your campuses.  Going forward I would also like to consider ways to use Ashoka as a consultant to help us think about how change happens and the changes that we can lead in legal education. 

Michele Pistone (Villanova)

Posted by Dan Rodriguez on April 6, 2018 at 02:43 PM | Permalink


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