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Issues in Legal Education

Legal Education Reform - Books, Articles and Reports

The Assocation of American Law Schools (AALS) now features law schools with innovative and other outstanding programs, as well as AALS statements on current issues in legal education.

NOTE: The following lists of books and law journal articles are not exhaustive, but a good representation of recent scholarship in this area.


Note: Hyperlinks link to Law Library catalog record.

1. April Mara Barton, Best Practices for Building a High-Tech Law School: The Process of Designing Educational Spaces (2012)

2. Charles Cercone, Teaching Law Practice: Preparing the Next Generation of Lawyers (2013)

3. Bruce A. Kimball, The Inception of Modern Professional Education: C.C. Langdell, 1826-1906 (2009)
While this title is legal and institutional history mixed with biography, it provides background and context for the course of legal education today. See also the electronic version.

4. Law and Leadership: Integrating Leadership Studies into the Law School Curriculum, eds. Paula Monopoli & Susan McCarty (2013)

5. Legal Education in Asia: Globalization, Change, and Contexts, ed. Stacey Steel (2010)

6. Legal Education in the Digital Age, ed. Edward Rubin (2012)

7. Reforming Legal Education: Law Schools at the Crossroads,  ed. David M. Moss (2012)

8. John O. Sonsteng et al., A Legal Education Renaissance: A Practical Approach for the Twenty-First Century -- The History and Status of Legal Education (2008)

9. Roy Stuckey et al., Best Practices for Legal Education: A Vision and a Road Map (2007) (PDF online)

10. William M. Sullivan et al., Education Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007)

11. Brian Z. Tamanaha, Failing Law Schools (2012)

12. David I.C. Thomson, Law School 2.0 (2009)

13. Robin West, Teaching Law: Justice, Politics, and the Demands of Professionalism (2014)

14. Lutz-Christian Wolff, et al., Flipped Classrooms for Legal Education, (2016)


Note: Majority of hyperlinks are to HeinOnline. Symposium issues link to the table of contents for that issue for easy browsing.

1. Sameer M. Ashar, Deep Critique and Democratic Lawyering in Clinical Practice, 104 Cal. L. Rev. 201 (2016)  The crisis in legal education has been defined and accentuated by urgent and existential critiques. This body of complaint and suggestion--in the form of books, foundation reports, law review articles, major media entries, and blog posts--has two gaping holes that this Essay seeks to fill. It draws on clinical practice rooted in pedagogies focused on the development of critical analysis and political engagement to make the case for a progressive  vision of law school reform--and, more generally, the legal profession--that emphasizes justice, connection, and cogeneration by lawyers and communities of approaches to entrenched social problems.

2. Elizabeth Chambliss, Law School Training for Licensed 'Legal Technicians'? Implications for the Consumer Market, South Carolina Law Review, v.65, no.3 (2014)
"This Article examines the status of the Washington LLLT initiative and its reception in other states. It argues that, while the Washington model faces strong headwinds in the form of lawyer resistance on the one hand and unregulated competition on the other, law school training for licensed legal technicians is a promising means for institutionalizing a nationally recognized, independent paraprofessional brand, which itself could promote broader consumer access to — and demand for — routine legal services."

3. Chapman Law Review, Symposium Issue on Legal Education, Vol. 17, No. 1 (2013)

4. John Coates, Jesse Fried & Kathryn Spier, What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard's Largest Employers Weigh In SSRN (February 17, 2014)
"We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses; and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills."--Abstract

5. Connecticut Law Review, Symposium Issue on Legal Education, Vol. 45, No. 4 (2013)

6. Elon Law Review, Symposium Issue, Experiential Education in the Law, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2015)
This issue includes articles presented for the Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law at Elon University School of Law, Greensboro, N.C. Also included, a report from the working groups of the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law.

7. Aliza B. Kaplan, How to Build a Public Interest Lawyer (And Help All Law Students Along the Way), 15 Loy. J. Pub. Int. L 153 (2013)
"As law schools across the country debate ways to change or not change their curricula to ensure that students are more prepared for practice and get the most out of their legal education, there is an opportunity to make some important improvements. The changes, which have been discussed in my article, will provide students with an environment where social justice and traditional and non-traditional lawyering skills play a larger role in legal education and are more valued."--Conclusion.

8. Cristina D. Lockwood, Improving Learning in the Law School Classroom by Encouraging Students to Form Communities of Practice, 20 Clinical L. Rev. 95 (2013)
The Clinical Law Review has lots of articles on legal education, much of it tied to social justice or clinical programs. Browse this journal table of contents online to see the variety.

9. Lynn M. LoPucki, Dawn of the Discipline-Based Law Faculty, 65 J. Legal Educ. 506 (2016)
Reports on hiring trend among top law schools of tenure-track, entry-level JD-PhD faculty.

10. McGeorge Law Review, Symposium Issue, The State and Future of Legal Education, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2013)
Contributions address professional skills, online learning, assessment, jobs and preparation for jobs, the 3L year, and ramifications of the "crisis" in legal education for higher education.

11. Maryland Law Review, Symposium Issue, The Profession and the Academy: Addressing Major Changes in Law Practice, Vol. 70, No. 2 (2011)

12. Pepperdine Law Review, Symposium Issue, The Lawyer of the Future, Vol 40, No. 2 (2013)

13. Beverly Peterson Jennison, Beyond Langdell: Innovation in Legal Education
62 Cath. U. L. Rev. 643-674 (2013)
"This Article posits the theory that, in addition to externships and clinical experience, which are now commonplace in most, if not all, legal educational settings, a practice component, which will develop 'professional expertise,' sought throughout the Carnegie Report and elsewhere, should be included in students' legal education from the outset. In other words, law students should be immersed into the world of practice by the end of their first year of law school."

14. Richard E. Redding, The Legal Academy Under Erasure, Catholic University Law Review (forthcoming 2014)
Critical of recent reports of "crisis" in legal education, Redding recommends law schools adopt the medical school model of curriculum and training.

15. Stanford Law & Policy Review, Symposium Issue, The Future of the Legal Profession, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2013)

16. Valparaiso Faculty Publications, Bringing a Knife to the Gunfight: The Academically Underprepared Law Student & Legal Education Reform (2012)

17. Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, Symposium Issue, The Law School in the New Legal Environment, Vol. 41 (2013)

18. ibid., Symposium Issue, New Ideas in Law and Legal Education, Vol. 43 (2013)
"[P]rimarily focuses on recommendations for and developments in legal education, to respond to the changing legal environment."--Peter A. Joy, Introduction. Emphasis on clinicial legal education.

19. Joan C. Williams, Disruptive Innovation: New Models of Legal Practice, 67 Hastings L. J. 1 (2015)  A comprehensive review of a wide variety of new business organizations that have arisen in recent years to remedy the market's failure to deliver business organizations responsive to the complaints of either lawyers or of clients.

20. Wisconsin Law Review commentaries on experiential learning, Vol. 2015, no. 4
The issue includes three relevant contributions: Jason Webb Yackee, Does Experiential Learning Improve JD Employment Outcomes?; Keith A. Findley, Assessing Experiential Legal Education: A Response to Professor Yackee; and Robert R. Kuehn, Measuring Clinical Legal Education's Employment Outcomes.


1. AALL ALL-SIS Task Force on Identifying Skills & Knowledge for Legal Practice, A Report of the Qualitative Responses from the Survey of Practitioners on the Legal Research Practices and Opinions of New Associates' Research Skills (June 2015) (PDF)

2. The Berkeley Transactional Practice Project - Competencies/Skills Survey 2014  (prepared by Prof. Eric L. Talley)

3. Law Library, Gould, Legal Education Reform Bibliography (September 24, 2014). Touro Law Center Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Available at SSRN: or
Books, law review articles, reports, and news. The bibliography lacks annotations or an index, but state bar reports are organized by jurisdiction, and news stories by general topic.


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