Professor Christine Coughlin responds to legal education article in New York Times letter to the editor

Professor Christine Coughlin recently co-authored a letter to the editor that was published in the New York Times regarding this story about legal education.

As law professors with backgrounds in public health and bioethics, we have long been advocating for legal education to look to the medical education model for guidance. In fact, when formal legal education began at Harvard Law School in the 1870s, Charles W. Eliot, who was then the president of Harvard, recommended to Christopher Langdell (considered the father of modern legal education) that the law school emulate the medical school’s model of experiential education. We applaud the law schools that are putting this idea into action.

In these difficult economic times, law professors can incorporate medical education’s signature pedagogy — popularly known as “see one, do one, teach one” — in regular classrooms by requiring students to examine examples of professional legal work, simulate or emulate them, and then teach them to other students through a supervised peer review system. Experiential education should take place throughout the curriculum, not merely in stand-alone clinics or “firms.”

LISA T. McELROY
CHRISTINE NERO COUGHLIN
Philadelphia, March 9, 2013

You can find a link to the actual letter here.