The first Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference took place on September 26-28, and what an amazing conference it was.
Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers (ETL) is an initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), which is part of the University of Denver. Although not directly a part of the law school, it is now housed in a beautiful building on the doorstep of the law school on the main campus of the University. Its Executive Director is Rebecca Love Kourlis, former Colorado Supreme Court Justice and this year's winner of the ABA's John Marshall Award.
The Director of the ETL Initiative is Bill Sullivan, the primary author of Educating Lawyers (Carnegie Foundation, 2007), known in legal education as "the Carnegie Report." The Manager of ETL is Marnee Baker. ETL also hosts and manages a website, which includes teaching portfolios offered by ETL Fellows that show how they teach in this way.
ETL is based on a consortium model. That is, other than the infrastructure (managers, website, etc.) which is housed at IAALS, it is made up of now 24 law schools that are all practicing to some degree, and are committed to, the "Carnegie" model for legal education. These law schools applied to join ETL, and one of the benefits of membership is an annual conference bringing together teams of law professors from each consortium school. This conference, entitled "The Development of Professional Identity in Legal Education: Rethinking Learning and Assessment," was the first.
As the title of the conference suggests, this one focused on the "Third Apprenticeship" (a reference to the Carnegie model) of Formation of Professional Identity. The full conference program can be found here.
The conference began with a "speed networking" session, in which each school was able to meet (for a short 15 minute segment) representatives from all the other attending consortium schools. That was followed by a dinner, where Jim Moliterno (Washington & Lee) was given the "Rebuilding Justice" award by IAALS in recognition of his many contributions to legal education reform over the years.
The next morning, Bill Sullivan and I co-presented an "Interactive Pedagogical Presentation on Professional Identity Formation." Advance reading for that session was a short article squib I wrote that was derived from two blog posts previously published here, as well as a handout for an exercise that I conducted during the talk. Both items - together with all handouts from the conference - can be found here.
Our talk was followed by a presentation by Bill Henderson, who is a professor at Indiana University Law School and who blogs at The Legal Whiteboard. Bill opened our eyes to the compelling data showing the changing dynamics (and economics) of the legal profession. After lunch, we heard more data from the assessment of formation of professional identity work being done by Neil Hamilton, Jerry Organ, and Verna Monson at the Holloran Center at St. Thomas University Law School.
The afternoon concluded with two concurrent sessions, one of which featured Bill Henderson and Jim Moliterno talking about their respective programs, and the other of which featured my colleague Roberto Corrada and me talking about the whole-course simulations that we use in our teaching. Roberto is justifiably famous for teaching both Labor Law and Administrative Law through a whole-course simulation model, and he did a great job explaining the educational theory behind simulations and describing how his two courses operate. I spoke about the Discovery Practicum course that I have taught at Denver Law for nearly 20 years. I have a post here on this blog describing the course, and Course Portfolio on the ETL site.
On Saturday morning, we heard two tremendous speakers address the question of formation of Professional Identity. First, Dr. Matthew Wynia from the American Medical Association spoke about the development of professionalism in medical training, in which he shared some of the history - back before Hippocrates - of professional identity formation in medicine, and also shared a "top ten" list of things that are done in medical education to inculcate professionalism. The list he offered was ranked from "Easy to do/But Ineffective" to "Hard to do/But very Effective." I found it compelling that simulations are right in the middle - hard to do but not too hard, and pretty darn effective. After Dr. Wynia, Daisy Hurst Floyd, former Dean of the Mercer Law School, spoke about Cultivating Self-Reflection and Lawyer Integrity. In her talk she described a course she teaches which involves students learning from practicing attorneys, and which also involves student reflective journaling, a technique I use in the Discovery course, but about which I have become even more intensely interested since she spoke.
Near the end of the conference, we had a Dean's panel discussion, featuring Deans from Loyola (New Orleans), Denver, Dayton, and Southwestern. The title of the panel was "Implementing Institutional Change," and each Dean spoke about what they are doing to support "Carnegie Style" teaching at their school. Each of the Deans explained the various forms of support they have given in their schools, such as offering stipends for new and innovative course development. Dean Paul McGreal (Dayton) spoke about the initiatives he has developed and supported at his school that are moving towards the "flipped" classroom model, and mentioned (while I blushed) that he was "transformed" to teach in this way - and support this kind of teaching in his Deanship - from reading the Law School 2.0 book.
Next year's ETL Conference will be October 3 -5, 2013 at Denver Law, where we will connect the formation of professional identity with the bench and bar. For another account of this year's ETL Conference, visit Mary Lynch's excellent post at the Best Practices in Legal Education blog at Albany Law School.