Editor(s)

Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kass & Antoinette Sedillo López

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Description

Law school course offerings have proliferated in recent decades. This development reflects the addition of specialized doctrinal courses, a growing emphasis on interdisciplinary knowledge, and the incorporation of practice-oriented courses. From the perspective of the individual student, an expanded curriculum may create exciting educational opportunities while posing trade-offs between a generalist education and specialization.

Law schools face two key challenges. First, they must structure the curriculum so that the experiences of individual law students have some coherence, or, if you will, seem integrated. Second they must incorporate the full range of what the Carnegie Reports referred to as the apprenticeships of formal knowledge, professional skill, and identity and purpose and what the MacCrate Report and Best Practices for Legal Education previously articulated as knowledge, skills, and values.

This section discusses three approaches–not mutually exclusive–to structuring the law school curriculum. One way to strive for that goal is through course advising with structured pathways through the curriculum and concentrations. A second approach is to integrate the curriculum: connect the individual courses that a student takes, both those taken concurrently and across the years the student is enrolled in law school. The objective is that students have a sense that the learning in the various courses relates to and reinforces the learning in others. A third approach is to engage in a particular type of integration: sequence the curriculum by structuring offerings from introductory to intermediate to advanced, so that later classes build on the concepts and skills learned in earlier ones.

Although scattered integration and sequencing efforts date back decades, empirical research is not available to definitively confirm their status as best practices. Further experimentation with integration and sequencing is warranted as a best practice.

Title of Book

Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World

ISBN

978-1-63044-320-7

Publication Date

2015

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publisher

Carolina Academic Press

City

Durham, NC

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Legal Education

Pathways, Integration, and Sequencing the Curriculum

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