Washington and Lee takes a big step forward in legal education

I don't usually bring a lot of general law commentary over here to The Settlement Channel but I wanted to highlight what I thought was a particularly interesting podcast we did over on Speaking of Justice this week. The topic of the podcast was the recent news about the decision by Washington and Lee University Law School to dramatically reform it's third year curriculum.  

Late last week the Dean of the Washington and Lee University Law School announced a revolutionary change in how the highly esteemed law school would approach the third year of law school. On Speaking of Justice, the man charged with developing this innovative new approach to legal education work, Dean Rodney A. Smolla, joins host Scott Drake to discuss just how this decision was made and what this highly regarded law school hopes to provide it's students through this intriguing change in 3L.

Click here to listen to the podcast of Dean Smolla on Speaking of Justice. 

The new third-year curriculum, approved unanimously by the Law School faculty, will be entirely experiential in nature. Traditional classroom instruction will be replaced by practice simulations, real-client interactions and the development of law practice skills. These project simulations will span the array of traditional legal subject matter, including transactional areas such as banking and corporate finance that have often been overlooked in the hands-on offerings of traditional law school curriculums. Also, the Law School's existing clinics and externship programs will be modestly expanded. All third-year students will be required to obtain a Virginia practice certificate and participate in at least one real-client experience during the year. Dean%20Rodney%20Smolla.jpg

Legal education has been immersed in tradition and methodology that has remained largely unchanged for decades, if not hundreds of years, so this innovative departure is currently the talk of the legal world. Washington and Lee is considered one of the nation's finest law firms with a star studded list of alumni. Additionally Dean Smolla is regarded by many in the world of legal education as one of its leading innovators, with a reputation as a scholar, teacher, advocate and writer. His wide ranging scholarship includes a case book on the First Amendment, four legal treatises and many article in the nations top law reviews, in fact winning the ABA Silver Gavel Award and the William O. Douglass Award. Rodney Smolla is one of the nations leading legal scholars on first amendment issues and with this recent move now sure to be viewed nationally as one of the innovators in legal education, LBN is pleased to offer this podcast to it's listeners who want to know more about Washington and Lee, or who wish to learn more about Dean Smolla.

Listen to the entire podcast interview of Dean Rodney Smolla of Washington and Lee by clicking here. 

Posted on March 20, 2008 .