Kris Franklin and Peter Phillips of New York Law School just wrote an excellent article that people who care about teaching dispute resolution in law schools should read: Pass the Salt: Problem Resolution Lawyering Across the 21st Century Law Curriculum.
Here’s the abstract:
Attorneys work with clients to resolve problems.
Legal education can help prepare law graduates to do that work. As an added bonus, doing so would in turn help law students understand and retain the subjects they study.
Law professors who teach alternative dispute resolution, lawyering skills, clinics, and sometimes traditional doctrinal courses, have all called for greater inclusion of dispute resolution in the law school curriculum. Some have urged the introduction of specific courses to prepare contemporary law students to work as problem resolvers. This Article builds on these and other calls for reform, but urges a genuine reconceptualization of the purposes of legal work. Framing lawyers’ professional role as helping clients resolve problems – and therefore in turn, conceiving law school coursework as preparation for that role – should alter teaching, learning, and law practice in ways that inevitably improves each.
We review some of the disparate voices calling for related curricular changes in legal education and conclude that much can be accomplished with reframing the purpose of law training. The article concludes with an extended series of exemplars for ways to shift current law school courses to begin from a common notion of lawyers as problem resolution partners.
They write: “There is a lot that law professors can do – right now – to help implement a core lawyering-as-problem-solving mission in law teaching. Rather than arguing extensively for overarching change in legal education, then (as so many with whom we agree have already done), we write here to summarize the lawyers-as-problem-solvers reframing, and to offer some concrete suggestions for places in the curriculum where it can immediately be implemented.” (Footnote omitted.)
Many Indisputably readers are familiar with Peter Phillips and his excellent work. I suspect that many are not familiar with Kris Franklin, as I wasn’t – until I saw Peter interview her. I was blown away by her as I described in a post, You Really Should Know About Kris Franklin.
Take a look at that post – and Kris and Peter’s article.