Some years ago a California State Bar task force crafted and the Board approved several requirements that would require law schools to increase the practical skills curriculum offered, in order to better prepare lawyers for the practice of law. With broad input, the report was adopted by the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California after two rounds of public comment.
More recently, the Bar’s Executive Director has proposed a new plan to modify the skills education law students would be required to complete reducing the prior recommendation from 15 to six units of experiential learning.
This proposal will be shared with stakeholders, and may be the subject of another round of public comment.
St. Francis School of Law recently released an inventory of some of the extensive experiential components of its program. St. Francis Dean Carole J. Buckner said the school’s Juris Doctor program was conceived of by the founder of the school to include a wide range of professional lawyering skills in beyond the traditional program of legal education. The law school’s mission is “to produce graduates who are capable of practicing law immediately upon graduation through an accessible, high quality program that emphasizes practical professional skills.”
“Our students are learning practical professional lawyering skills, including drafting contracts and pleadings, and oral presentation and oral argument skills, throughout the curriculum,” Dean Buckner indicated. The St. Francis program integrates experiential learning with substantive courses. Many of the experiential components of the St. Francis program were designed by professors with extensive experience practicing law in the relevant substantive legal areas. These subject matter experts bring their knowledge of the practice of law into the St. Francis classroom.