The future of legal education hinges on a more diverse and demanding curriculum, and leading schools are taking the initiative to strengthen the skills covered in the second and third years of law school. I am excited to report that our faculty has voted unanimously to join this vanguard of top institutions that are making significant alterations in their curriculum to accommodate the changing needs of the marketplace.
Beginning with our entering Class of 2009, J.D. candidates will be required to enroll in additional practice-skills classes after completing their first year of study. Students will choose from nearly 40 practice-skills courses, including clinical classes in mediation and negotiation; a transactional clinic dedicated to the needs of small businesses; in-depth classes on contract drafting, transactions and consumer law; and simulation courses on discovery, trial skills and intellectual property strategies. All of this is in addition to the existing first-year curriculum with the traditional course on legal research and writing and electives, approved a number of years ago, that include classes on law practice skills and analytical methods.
Curriculum adjustments typically involve small refinements – but our new requirement is anything but that. Our faculty recognized the imperative of honing the professional skills of our students, and took substantive action that will make our graduates even more valuable in the marketplace.
The roster of our new classes can be reviewed on our web site, and I encourage you take stock of our new approach. The Law Center serves one of the most demanding marketplaces in graduate education, and we have long offered one of the most rich and diversified curriculums in the country. Our school is rightfully known for producing terrific lawyers – and I believe this new curriculum change will augment this already solid reputation.