Law Schools Change First Year Curriculum

I just read a recent New York Times article (see a link to the article at the end of this post) about law schools changing their first year curriculum. The article addresses the need for law students to develop other areas of expertise in order to be successful attorneys (for example taking business classes) as well as specialized courses on necessary skills required to be a successful lawyer (for example – how to interpret case law and statutory provisions).

Okay, this may not sound very exciting, but if you are currently a law student, the article is worth a read.

One of the most difficult challenges students face when taking the bar exam is the performance test section. This closed library exam, should be relatively easy. But, for those examinees who never master the ability to interpret statutes and codes and to effectively dissect a case, the performance test could be their downfall.

What is the performance test? It is a closed library exam where the examinee is given a hypothetical client, matching case file and a library of cases and statutes. The examinee is given instructions to prepare a document or documents (for example, a motion to suppress evidence or a summary judgment motion or perhaps a memorandum to a judge). The skills tested are: case law and statutory interpretation, analytical ability, ability to follow instructions, legal writing skills and your ability to apply the law to a hypothetical case.

Not only are these skills necessary to pass the performance test, you will not be an effective attorney without the ability to interpret statutory and case law.

Kudos to law schools like Vanderbilt University for providing their students with courses designed to develop these very skills.

To read the article, go to this link:

Lisa Duncanson
Program Director/Founder
Bar None Review
(562) 799-5581