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Practice Makes Perfect: Law Schools Well-Served to Allow Students to Practice Earlier

I remember reading, reading, and more reading in law school.  I remember the Socratic method, but the focus being on the casebook method.  Fortunately, I also remember what made me a practice ready attorney from the day I graduated and joined Traverse Legal - that was The Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute at MSU Law.  It was a rigorous two-year program that taught pre-trial and trial advocacy, not in a typical classroom setting, but rather in a state of the art courtroom.  I learned about the practicalities of discovery, actually tried mock cases each semester, and tasted the life of a litigator.  My only regret was that there was not more of it in law school.  That said, I will forever be thankful to MSU Law for giving me the practical skills necessary to get through those first real depositions, hearings, and trials.

For all the chatter, from the ABA and others, about the need to change law school to prepare practice-ready attorneys, not many law schools have stepped up.  Like many law practices, law schools hate change.  Fortunately, Michigan State University College of Law is leading the way with new curriculum that will allow for practical skill development.  In fact, MSU Law's new 1L curriculum will start in the Fall of 2011 and includes courses in advocacy and negotiation, among others.  I am excited to hear about the changes and see how it affects the students.

So, let's hear it.  Do you think law schools need to change, and if so, in what ways?  What other law schools are leading the way?  Brian wants to hear from you!


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