provide additional areas where students are under-prepared, but the de-
ficiencies described here are those that stand out based on my experi-
ences working with students. The balance of the essay suggests a series
of changes to the law school admissions process and law students’ first
year of study that would raise law students’ preparation level and enable
them to be more successful in their course work. I suspect that, unlike Part
II, my argument below will likely spark disagreement and dissent.
III. Creating a First-Year Experience that Enables
Students to Thrive
Application of two well-established principles to legal education will result in
a law school learning environment where students will thrive and cure any
lack of preparation. First, people respond to incentives. If we want people
to act in a certain manner, we need only create a scheme that incentivizes
people to act in the manner we seek. And second, from an educator’s per-
spective, I am aware that if I want my students to learn knowledge or skills,
I must not only effectively teach the material, I must also effectively assess
the students’ learning. Indeed teaching and assessing form a feedback
loop: one informs the other. Effective application of these simple principles
to legal education results in dramatic changes to the admission of students
to law school and the way law students learn during their first year, and
especially their first semester.
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