At the Massachusetts School of Law (MSLAW) we have believed from our inception that a law school should instruct students in legal theory AND teach students the professional skills they will need when they graduate. Over the past few years law schools have come under great scrutiny by students, graduates and the national media because they are charging exorbitant tuitions and not teaching students the skills they need to do the job when they graduate.
For example, the New York Times ran an article where they reported that “Law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, with classes that are often overstuffed with antiquated distinctions, like the variety of property law in post-feudal England. Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship, like law review articles with titles like “A Future Foretold: Neo-Aristotelian Praise of Postmodern Legal Theory.” The article went on to report that “The fundamental issue is that law schools are producing people who are not capable of being counselors,” says Jeffrey W. Carr, the general counsel of FMC Technologies, a Houston company that makes oil drilling equipment. “They are lawyers in the sense that they have law degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.” (Emphasis added).
The national outcry to solve this problem in law schools is ongoing. MSLAW fixed this problem when we opened our doors 25 years ago.
At MSLAW we teach you the skills you need to be a “provider of services”. At MSLAW you will learn how to:
- Analyze problems and courses of action, whether in business settings, legal settings, or elsewhere.
- Use relevant social, political, economic and other “non-legal” facts and doctrines relevant to presenting or solving legal questions.
- Speak articulately: in courtrooms, in meetings, at hearings, and to opponents.
- Interview and counsel clients
- Be sensitive to the needs, desires, and financial abilities of clients.
- Ferret our facts relevant to client’s cases or problems.
- Draft contracts, wills and trusts.
- Analyze business and personal problems from a legal standpoint.
- Plan legal courses of action for individuals, families and businesses.
- Take Depositions.
- Try cases, including examining and cross-examining witnesses, introducing evidence and arguing to jurors.
- Arbitrate and Mediate disputes.
- Drafting motions, trial memorandum and appellate briefs.
- Recognize and respond appropriately to the ethical and moral problems that arise continually in law practice.
- Behave professionally including acting with appropriate civility, politeness and promptness.
The reason why so many law schools now struggle with adapting their curriculum to the changing needs of their students is because the current law school model simply does not allow for it. Traditional law school faculty does not and cannot, under the current rules of ABA accreditation, practice law. So, it is impossible for those schools to teach skills across the curriculum the way MSLAW does. For more information our the MSLAW teaching difference visit www.mslaw.edu/teachingdifference.