Carnegie Foundation Selects Southwestern for Groundbreaking Legal Education Study
Southwestern has been chosen as one of ten law schools by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to participate in a consortium on the future of legal education. As a member of this eminent group, Southwestern is one of two California schools, along with Stanford, to be included in the project that will develop recommendations on law school curricula and skills training over the next few years. They will be joined by the City University of New York School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, Indiana University-Bloomington School of Law, New York University School of Law, University of Dayton School of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law, and Vanderbilt Law School.
According to Dean Bryant Garth, "Based on my own research and involvement with legal education and the profession over the past several decades, I am convinced that the Carnegie Foundation is pointed in the right direction in influencing the reform of the teaching of law. We are honored that Southwestern has been selected to play a key role in this effort to help provide law students around the country with the tools they need to successfully prepare for - and reinvigorate - the profession."
The Carnegie Foundation chose Southwestern and the other law schools for "[being] in the vanguard of assessing their own curricula in recent years." The Foundation also recently recognized Southwestern in the new book, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (Jossey-Bass, 2007), presenting the law school as one that is "already addressing the need for a more dynamic, integrated curriculum." Dean Garth's research was cited several times in the report as well.
Within the Conclusion chapter of "Educating Lawyers," the authors indicated that "Southwestern Law School has instituted a new first-year curriculum in which students take four doctrinal courses in their first semester rather than five, allowing for an intensified two-semester, integrated lawyering course plus an elective course in their second semester. The lawyering course expands a legal writing and research experience to include detailed work in legal methods and reasoning, as well as interviewing and advocacy. Professionalism explicitly grounds the course through the introduction of case studies of lawyers' careers that have been drawn from empirical research, such as the studies done by the American Bar Foundation referred to earlier. In addition, the Southwestern plan provides extensive academic support where needed to enhance student success."
Established in 1905, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center focused on improving education on all levels. The legal education initiative is being spearheaded by the Foundation's president, Lee Schulman, and Stanford's Dean Larry Kramer. The Southwestern contingent will include Dean Garth, Associate Dean Christopher Cameron, and Professor Catherine Carpenter, who will attend the first meetings to be held in early December at Stanford University. Preliminary discussions will revolve around issues of doctrinal and analytical content and teaching, lawyering skills, and professional values and identity.