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Legal Education Digest

Legal Education Digest
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Nelson, J --- "In This Issue" [2005] LegEdDig 34; (2005) 14(1) Legal Education Digest 2

In This Issue

Dr John Nelson

[1993] LegEdDig 52; (2005) 14(1) Legal Education Digest 2

There are 14 digested articles in this issue, sourced from recent editions of the Journal of Legal Education (from the US), Legal Education Review (Australia) and Law Teacher (UK), the last being a collection of articles with international perspectives exhibiting the wide variety of approaches to the use of technology in legal education.

In addition, there is one review article of a collection of essays published in 2004 and edited by Austin Sarat, entitled Law in the Liberal Arts. The main messages conveyed by this book are that legal education, left exclusively in the hands of law schools, becomes the acquisition and manipulation of technical knowledge in the interests of the client and that there is a strong case for opening up law and legal knowledge as proper objects on inquiry in the liberal arts.

Under Skills we have five articles digested. Stark sets forth some techniques for teaching students how to think like deal lawyers so they can learn how to translate the business deal into contract provisions. LeBrun & Macduff describe their design of an online module aimed at helping students to develop in a systematic way the skills of reflective practice within an online environment. Nadolski & Woretshofer explain how a multimedia practical, a self-contained electronic learning environment that provides context-relevant practice to students for acquiring complex skills, can be employed to teach flexible problem-solving. There is also an account of a research project carried out by Dickson & Campbell who investigated the feasibility of introducing provisions granting law students a limited right of audience in Australian courts with the aim of enhancing the teaching of advocacy and professional responsibility. Finally under this heading, Cappa flags the widespread marginalisation of the teaching and learning of legal research in law schools and suggests what needs to be done to rectify this situation by integrating legal research teaching into the curriculum.

Under Teaching Methods & Media and Technology Muntjewerff & Leijen hypothesise what would happen to academic legal education if we unplugged our web-based learning environments and then questions both what teachers would miss and what students would miss. An article by Paliwala traces the birth of Iolis, the most widely used interactive multimedia legal study source used in the UK, and explains its success and future directions.

Distance Education contains an article by Martin outlining Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute’s online courses, which are also offered to non-Cornell students at other participating law schools. Similarly, Mayer details how, via a US distance education consortium, it is possible to lower the barriers to inter-institutional distance legal education, enabling law schools to offer students courses taught at other institutions. In an article under Students, Field offers evidence of a positive association between the frequency of student access to subject websites and the quality of student performance.

The two articles under Teachers include one by Carmichael who demonstrates, through the construction of several fictitious ideal types of legal academics, that there is room for diversity in the experiences and contributions which individuals can bring to the academy and that indeed this is essential if law schools are to pursue the challenging and changing task of ensuring students have the chance to acquire a high quality legal education. Lawson looks at internal faculty workshops, points out their considerable shortcomings and offers suggestions for alternative formats to improve the outcomes.

Context, Criticism & Theory contains an article by Anderson reviewing the decline of the Critical Legal Studies movement and, at the same time, proposes that a CLS critique in the classroom can nonetheless open up a whole new way of looking at the world for many students, as well as for many of their teachers. Finally, under Individual Subjects/Areas of Law, Valcke reflects on global law teaching and calls for the chanelling of the many offerings in foreign, comparative, international and transnational law into coherent pedagogical strategies and offers some suggestions on how this might best be achieved.

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