Experiential Skills in Legal Education: Introducing Tomorrow’s Practitioners to Practicing Law
Author(s)Becker, Edward R.
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractWelcome to the “Future of Law,” a new column that will appear regularly in the Michigan Bar Journal. This month, we kick off a recurring series devoted to legal education. These articles will highlight new developments and ongoing efforts at the five Michigan law schools to introduce students to experiential skills and more effectively prepare them to practice law. In future columns, authors will shed light on what law schools are doing to prepare students for practice and, we hope, inspire more Michigan attorneys to get involved—or, for some of you, become further involved—in those efforts. Why is this inaugural column about experiential skills part of a theme issue dedicated to the future? That’s simple enough. Legal education faces forward. Law schools train tomorrow’s lawyers and are vital to the profession’s future. This introductory column, however, begins by looking at the past. Law schools are often criticized for not having done enough to train students to actually practice law. When directed at older approaches to legal education, this criticism is often justified. Anecdotal evidence supports that conclusion. Who hasn’t marveled at a rookie mistake by a newly minted lawyer and wondered what exactly that lawyer had learned during three years of law school? I don’t need to look any further than the mirror. When I recall my days as a new associate more than two decades ago, I shake my head at all the things I didn’t know—and, worse yet, didn’t know I didn’t know—about what it meant to practice law.