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WFU Law professor moderates panel addressing whether students are prepared for legal practice

Barbara Lentz, associate professor of Legal Writing, presented a panel discussion, “Are students prepared to meet current demands of modern legal practice?”, at the 2009 North and South Carolina Legal Research & Writing Colloquium, held at Elon University School of Law in May.

Lentz assembled and moderated a panel of attorneys from private practice and the courts that reviewed current expectations and demands of modern legal practice before turning to suggestions for addressing the gap between the education law schools provide and the demands of practitioners hiring new lawyers.

This gap has been recognized both by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching report, “Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law,” which emphasized that law schools should better prepare students by developing skills that they will need for the complexity of legal practice, and the Best Practices for Legal Education.

Topics discussed included whether students write enough in law school (panelists suggested students needed much more writing experience, including drafting, correspondence, opinions, etc., for varied audiences); and whether students understand the business of law (ranging from the role of an attorney, to case management, to billing, to business acumen), and that the law is a service industry requiring appropriate etiquette and attitude.