Perhaps one way to effect legal practice reform is to address it with students before they become members of the legal community. Like the teaching of bed-side manner to medical students, law students may well be the most willing and able to embrace the new client-side manner. And, it appears that law schools may be willing to alter current curricula to include this new concept.
In an August 4, 2012 article titled Law School Curricula Are Changing, Survey Shows, Mark Hansen reports on a survey conducted by the American Bar Association, which finds that:
Law schools have dramatically increased all aspects of skills instruction–including clinical, simulation and externships–in the wake of a 2004 change in law school accreditation standards requiring that students receive “substantial instruction” in skills generally regarded as necessary for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession.
In a previous article posted on July 5, 2012, Mr. Hansen reported on the same survey when the Executive Summary was first released: US Law Schools Expanding Clinical, Professionalism Offerings, Survey Shows. Mr. Hansen noted the comments of Hulett “Bucky” Askew, the American Bar Association’s consultant involved in the survey:
The survey responses reveal a renewed commitment by law schools to review and revise their curricula to produce practice-ready professionals . . . The report illuminates the extent to which faculties and administrations have responded to the evolving needs of their students and to changes in the legal services industry.
Also noted were the remarks of Catherine Carpenter, the survey editor, professor at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, and Chair of the American Bar Association Curriculum Committee:
Media scrutiny of legal education, and specifically of the law school curriculum, has also fueled the conversation.
So, legal consumers, speak up and be heard. If your voices are loud and clear, they will resonate with media, and the law schools will respond. And that can be the first step to effecting legal practice reform.
You’ve got options. The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field. Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.