Teaching Law for the Real World:

Date01 January 2017
Published date01 January 2017
Subject MatterEssays
Teaching Law for the Real World:
Bridging the Gap between Law School
and the Legal Profession
Anne-Marie Cotter1
This article looks at changes which need to be made on two levels. First, on the role of law schools: in
terms of practitioners, a new thought process should be developed at law schools to bring on board
practitioners either as full-time faculty members or sessionals to teach law courses, and this would help
bridge the gap between academia and the legal profession. In terms of curriculum, there is a need to
update curriculum and course choices to include some necessary courses that should be considered
part of any law programme. In terms of global understanding, law schools should not only offer more
international law courses, but can simply incorporate comparative law into existing courses, and study
abroad programmes would be an asset to form more international legal understanding. In terms of
practicums, there should be a practical component added to law courses to allow for the students to
learn day-to-day skills one would encounter in practicing law, including the legal implications of running
a company, managing a staff and dealing with stakeholders and boards of directors, and a partnership
within universities beyond the faculty of law to incorporate other departments would be of benefit to
students who would like to use their law degrees in other fields. Second, on the role of the bar associa-
tions and the law society: mentoring programmes are essential in the teaching of law and are so often
overlooked, and a mentoring partnership should be created between bar associations or law societies
and law schools, which would not only allow for an increased learning experience invaluable to the
student but it would also allow students to be better prepared for when they graduate, allowing for a
better transition from law school to law practice. The ability of an organization, especially a learning
organization like a university or a college of law, to learn from its past is the key to growth for its
present and survival for its future for a better legal profession.
Now that we are well into the twenty-first century, the teaching of law should look different today from
what it was in the twentieth century. As the world changes, and hopefully progresses, and as laws change
and evolve, so too should the teaching and learning of law for an ultimately better and cutting edge legal
1 Chair, Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, and Full Professor, University of Saskatchewan College of Law, Canada.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
4(1) 71–77
© 2017 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2322005816669606
Corresponding author:
Anne-Marie Cotter, 304-1855 Victoria Ave., Regina S4P 3T2, SK, Canada.
E-mail: amcbadger@hotmail.com

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