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Should Law Students Learn More Practical Skills?

In recent years, there has been a number of clients who are refusing to pay for young lawyers to learn on the job. As a result, law schools have started to change their curriculum to make courses more practical. Courses are starting to steer away from the theoretical themes, and focus more on real life skills for lawyers.

The competition for jobs for recent graduates is intense. Law firms want their young attorneys to come on the job with practical skills and ready to work full force. To meet these standards, the University of New Hampshire started working on developing these needed skills. This includes doing simulation interrogatories, draft motions, interviewing clients, and presenting arguments. The students also learn about pre-trial advocacy, trial advocacy, and dispute resolution, all skills important to an attorney’s everyday work life. In addition, “clients” played by actors will make the simulations more realistic.

A study led by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System found that students who received more simulated courses and learned practical attorney skills outperformed those who had been admitted to practice law within the past two years. They also out-performed their peers who received high scores on their LSAT test.

Professors tell their students that these courses are a safe place to make mistakes. The mistakes help them grow and learn with more hands on experience. Many American law schools focus on theoretical learning with very little hand on or visual learning options.  Offering different learning options has shown to be effective because everyone learns with different methods, whether it’s solely theoretical learning, visuals/hand-on learning, or a combination of both. Offering various learning methods for law school may even help potential law students to consider applying for law school and give them more confidence to become phenomenal attorneys.

What do you think of simulated learning in law school?  

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