From Challenge to Innovation: American Legal Education in 2016
The present state of American legal education raises pivotal questions: What is the relevance of legal education in a complex and global market? Has its value diminished in light of the significant investment required to pursue a law degree? Perhaps more seminal, is American legal education able to equip students with the tools needed to succeed in a global marketplace?
Despite questions of value, the need for quality legal education has never been more acute. The global market needs professionals who can think critically and provide innovative solutions to complex problems. American legal education has long addressed this need.
The current challenging times for legal education have prompted us to think more creatively about pedagogy and curriculum. The academy’s continued evolution has led to more dynamic programs that produce adroit professionals who can better function in a complex, more diverse market. Many of the new programs that have emerged during these challenging times explore the intersection of classroom doctrine and real-world problems. Other innovations seek to add value and manage costs. The array of new programs underway continues to expand. At the same time, lawschools continue their vital roles both innovators and as critics of law through the scholarship that their faculty members produce.
Challenge has truly prompted innovation. Law schools and faculties should work to foster the dynamism that comes from the academy’s continual evolution. Although the challenges confronting law schools are significant, the resolve to meet them has never been stronger.
Blake D. Morant
AALS President and Dean,
The George Washington University Law School