ALTERNATIVE JUSTIFICATIONS FOR ACADEMIC SUPPORT
II: HOW “ACADEMIC SUPPORT ACROSS THE CURRICULUM”
HELPS MEET THE GOALS OF THE CARNEGIE REPORT AND
LOUIS N. SCHULZE JR.*
In the wake of two momentous critiques of legal education, popularly
known as the “Carnegie Report” and “Best Practices,” law schools are
reconsidering certain basic assumptions about how to educate future
lawyers. Even the most forward-thinking reformers, however, struggle
with the details of how to implement many of the recommendations of
these reports. Providing more formative assessment, for instance, is a
laudable objective but one that has serious ramifications in terms of
resource expenditures. This article seeks to provide a remedy for many of
these struggles: “Academic Support Across the Curriculum.” This article
argues that the reconceptualization of an under-leveraged asset in many
law schools, Academic Support Programs (ASPs), can help provide crucial
improvements in legal education. By examining the reforms urged by the
Carnegie Report and Best Practices, and by detailing the methods of
certain exemplary ASPs throughout the country, this article analyzes how
ASPs just might be the answer to many tough questions.
Legal education is indeed at a crossroads. For over a century, the legal
academy has prepared students for the practice of law basically using a
static methodology.1 Traditionally, law schools’ sole endeavor was to
Copyright © 2012, Louis N. Schulze Jr.
* Associate Professor of Law and Director of Academic Support, New England Law |
Boston. My thanks to each of the ASP profession als who contributed to this piece. I am
particularly indebted to Professor Rebecca Flanagan of the University of Connecticut
School of Law for her wise thoughts; to New England Law | Boston Professors Elizabeth
Bloom, Lawrence Friedman, and Jordan Singer for th eir insightful comments on earlier
drafts; and to my excellent research assistant M elaney Hodge. I am also grateful to New
England Law | Boston for its financial support for this work.
1 Edward Rubin, What’s Wrong with Langdell's Method and What to Do About It, 60
VAND. L. REV. 609, 648 (2007) (“To rely on a model of education that was designed in the
1870s . . . as the traditional approach to legal education does, denies us the benefit of the
entire range of modern thought about the educational process and of the entire field of
2 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [40:1
teach students generally how to “think like a lawyer.”2 Training on how to
be a lawyer, by contrast, often remained the tacit duty of a student’s first
employer.3 Moreover, teaching the law itself, and its application to real
cases, has traditionally been anything but explicit. The application of the
classic “Socratic Method” often left students with more questions than
answers, which was considered desirable in that the cream of the law
student crop was thus compelled to find answers on its own.4
Despite the supposed desirability of the traditional approach, certain
forces have arisen that make these traditions impossible to maintain. The
explosion of law school tuition in recent years5 has resulted in the
“consumerization” of law students; the customers, it seems, now demand
more than just inculcation on “thinking like a lawyer.”6 Meanwhile, legal
employers bemoan the fact that law graduates pass the bar ill-prepared to
modern psychology that informs this area.”), quoted in Roy Stucke y, “Best Practices" or
Not, It Is Time to Re-Think Legal Education, 16 CLINICAL L. REV. 307, 308 n.6 (2009).
2 WILLIAM M. SULLIVAN ET AL., EDUCATING LAW YERS: PREPARATION FOR THE
PROFESSION OF LAW 47 (2007) [hereinafter CARNEGIE REPORT]. See also Seth Freeman,
Bridging the Gaps: How Cross-Disciplinary Training with MBAs Can Improve
Transactional Education, Prepare Students for Private Practice, and Enhance University
Life, 13 FORDHAM J. CORP. & FIN. L. 89, 92 (2008); Jess M. Krannich et al., Beyond
“Thinking Like A Lawyer” and the Traditional Legal Paradigm: Toward a Comprehensive
View of Legal Education, 86 DENV. U. L. REV. 381, 388 (2009).
3 See CARNEGIE REPOR T, supra note 2, at 88 ; Jennifer S. Bard, What We in Law Can
Learn From Our Colleagues in Medicine About Teaching Students How to Practice Their
Chosen Profession, 36 J.L. MED. & ETHICS 841, 843 (Supp. 2008); Neil J. Dilloff, The
Changing Cultures and Economics of Large Law Firm Practice and Their Impact on Legal
Education, 70 MD. L. REV. 341, 361–62 (2011) (arguing that mandatory third year
employment would be beneficial to potential lawyers and their first employers).
4 CARNEGIE REPORT, supra note 2, at 2 (describing the case-dialogue method as a game
of “hide the ball”). See also Benjamin V. Madison, III, The Elephant in Law School
Classrooms: Overuse of The Socratic Method as an Obstacle to Teaching Modern Law
Students, 85 U. DET. MERCY L. REV. 293, 299–300 (2008).
5 See AM. BAR. ASS’N, LIFTING THE BURDEN: LAW STU DENT DEBT AS A BARRIER TO
PUBLIC SERVICE 10 (2003), available at http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/
6 See Daniel Thies, Rethinking Legal Education in Hard Times: The Recession,
Practical Legal Education, and the New Job Market, 59 J. LEGAL EDUC. 598, 598–99
2012] JUSTIFICATIONS FOR ACADEMIC SUPPORT 3
handle lawyerly tasks wholly independent.7 The bottom line is students
and the practicing bar now demand that law schools do more to render
students “practice ready.”8
In response to these and other forces, two influential reports
contemporaneously studied the continued viability of the legal education
status quo: Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Practice of Law (the
Carnegie Report), issued by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching,9 and Best Practices for Legal Education (Best Practices),
published by the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA).10 The
Carnegie Report, based on site visits and interviews with law students and
faculty, concluded that although mainstream legal education has many
strengths, a great deal of reform is necessary.11 The Carnegie Report’s
authors categorize what they see as imperative pedagogical goals into three
“apprenticeships”: the “intellectual or cognitive apprenticeship”; the
“practical apprenticeship”; and “the apprenticeship of identity and
purpose.”12 The authors contend that mainstream legal education focuses
heavily on the first apprenticeship, focuses too little on the last two, and
calls for the improvement of the holistic preparation of law students by the
integration of all of the apprenticeships in law school curricula.13
Even while recognizing the emphasis on the cognitive apprenticeship
in law schools, the Carnegie Report nevertheless criticizes the means by
which most law schools attend to the intellectual training of lawyers.14
Similarly, Best Practices recognizes the gap in practical and ethical
training in the modern legal academy but also details the fractured means
by which law schools attempt to teach substance.15 Specifically, Best
Practices critiques the legal academy for failing to “study and practice
7 See Clark D. Cunningham, Should American Law Schools Continue to Graduate
Lawyers Whom Clients Consider Worthless?, 70 MD. L. REV. 499, 499–500 (2011); Dilloff,
supra note 3, at 342 (suggesting changes to the law school curriculum to better prepare
students for the current realities of practice).
8 See Dilloff, supra note 3, at 359.
9 CARNEGIE REPORT, supra not e 2.
10 ROY STUCKEY ET AL., BEST PRACTICES FOR LEGAL EDUCATION (2007) [herei nafter
11 CARNEGIE REPORT, supra note 2, at 16–17.
12 Id. at 28.
13 Id. at 191.
14 Id. at 24.
15 BEST PRACTICES, supra note 10, at 283.