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Northeastern University School of Law

Hosted by Northeastern University School of Law, the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and the Northeastern University Law Journal.


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Symposium Goals and Objectives

The Inaugural Symposium on Experiential Education in Law represents a transformational moment in the development of law school curriculum.  The Symposium provides a forum for creative and innovative thinking and planning to reimagine the relationship between experiential learning and other pedagogies in order to ensure that law graduates are ready to practice with a full complement of skills and ethical and social values necessary to serve clients and the public interest, now and in the future.  The Symposium will engage constituencies in the legal academy and profession to initiate new approaches and programs for curriculum reform and to change the way in which law students are educated in order to address the shared complex challenges of the 21st century.  Specifically, the Symposium will encourage attendees to identify key attributes underlying the advantages in preparing law students for careers in the law that are associated with experiential learning while developing methods by which these curricular innovations can be implemented.

The Symposium invites members of the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law, as well as others who are broadly representative of the profession and academy, to participate in the Symposium.  In this way, the Symposium can encourage creative thinking from multiple perspectives and develop innovative solutions from those most affected by the transformation underway in the legal academy and profession.  From this shared understanding and common approach will come work plans that can form the basis for strategic planning and approaches that will lead to positive implementation that will ensure future relevance for legal education and the profession. Northeastern University School of Law, the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and the Northeastern University Law Journal invite you to join us in contributing to this transformational moment in legal education.

To learn more about our cohosts, please click on these links: the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law and the Northeastern University Law Journal.  

Symposium Agenda At A Glance  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Emc Club, Fenway Park


5:00 - 5:30 pm

5:30 - 6:30 pm
Welcome, Dean Jeremy Paul
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Keynote Address:  This session will introduce the Symposium with an update and call to action from ABA President-elect James R. Silkenat, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Westin Copley Place


7:30 - 8:30 am
Registration and Light Breakfast

8:30 - 8:40 am
Welcome, Conference Goals and Objectives

8:40 - 10:00 am
Plenary 1
Where are We, Where Are We Going, and How Do We Get There? 

Mirroring the multifaceted aspects of theory and practice that underlie experiential education, this two-part introduction looks at the current status of reform efforts in the academy in response to the changing landscape in legal education and offers ways to engage scholars, teachers and practitioners from common perspectives.

“The Progression of Legal Education Models: Everything Old Is New Again”
Susannah Furnish
Partner, Furnish and Reed

“The Law School Critique in Historical Perspective”
A. Benjamin Spencer
Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law and Director, Frances Lewis Law Center, Washington and Lee University School of Law

10:00 - 10:15 am

10:15 - 11:30 am
Plenary 2
Reimagining Competencies in Experiential Education in Law
Drawing on the expertise of practitioners andscholars who recognize the impact of social, economic and technological change, this session will examine redefining goals, skills, competencies, and terms in a way that accommodates changing paradigms in providing legal services and training lawyers to offer those services.

“Meeting the Professional Identity Challenge in Legal Education through a Relationship-Centered Experiential Curriculum”
Susan Brooks
Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Professor ofLaw, Earle Mack School of Law, Drexel University

“Shared Visions of Design and Law in Professional Education”

Cody Thornton
3L, Northeastern University School of Law 

11:30 - 12:00 pm
Innovation Demos

12:00 pm

12:30 - 1:30pm
Working Lunch Breakout Sessions

1:30 - 1:45 pm

1:45  – 3:15 pm
Plenary 3
Beyond Carnegie: Experiential Education as an Integrated Curriculum
Rethinking traditional classroom teaching, clinical education, externships, writing and research, and other pedagogies, this session explores ways to develop curriculum that accommodates adjustments in legal education under discussion.Integrating experiential approaches in legal education will afford greater connection to what lawyers do in practice, while maintaining focus on essential doctrine and analysis. 

“Experiential Education in the Lecture Hall”
Jessica Erickson
Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law

“Intersecting Experiential Education and Social Justice Teaching”
Margaret Kwoka
Assistant Professor, The John Marshall Law School

“Should Law Professors Have a Continuing Practice Experience (Cpe) Requirement?”
Emily Zimmerman
Associate Professor of Law, Earle Mack School of Law,Drexel University 

3:15  – 3:45 pm
Innovation Demos

3:45  – 4:00 pm

4:00– 5:00 pm
Breakout Sessions
Beyond Carnegie: Implementing an Integrated Curriculum
These breakouts will discuss how scholars and practitioners can interact in ways that can serve law students as they move into legal jobs.  Focusing on law students as developing professionals will permit some attention to the needs of those who will be providing legal services during a time of disruption and reordering in the profession.  From this perspective, alignments between the academy and profession can be identified and used to the advantage of the profession and public, as well as the students.

5:00– 7:00 pm

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Westin Copley Place

7:30 - 8:30 am
Light Breakfast

8:30  – 9:45 am 
Plenary 4
Assessments: The Right Stuff and Measurement
This session will consider the manner in which the efficacy of legal education is assessed. While the USN&WR rankings are somewhat controversial,they are widely perused and considered for many purposes, including many that are outside ofthe rankings’ design. In light of these and other critiques of rankings, alternative methodologies might be employed to provide more appropriate assessments of law school activities. And our conception of assessing students, faculty and practitioners is also undergoing dramatic change as technological and economic forces impose new and different considerations. 

“Studying Our Alumni to Identify Outcome Measures that Really Matter”
William Henderson
Principal, Lawyer Metrics

“Professional Learning Communities and Collaborative Teams:Tools to Jump-Start the Learning Outcomes Assessment Process”

Sharon Sandeen
Professor of Law, Hamline University School of Law

9:45 – 10:15 am
Innovation Demos

10:15 - 10:30 am

10:30 - 11:30 am
Breakout Sessions
This session will focus on alternative assessment and measurement techniques and processes, developing assessment methodologies that address competencies to be consistent with experiential learning and focus.

11:30 - 11:45 am

11:45 am – 12:45 pm
Plenary 5
Facing Challenges and Creating Opportunities
Key components of the program will be highlighted with identified action items and deliverables that can be used for strategic planning and implementation.