One of the major trends in modern legal education is towards more "experiential" learning. And Arizona Law is at the front of the pack.
For many lawyers in the past, a great law school education would teach them to think like a lawyer, and provide both broad and focused foundations in different substantive areas. Most drafting in class or moot court settings would be of trial and appellate briefs.
Now, responding both to the national trend and demands from employers and students, we believe that every student should be exposed to the core aspects of the practice of law. Students need to know how to interview clients, how to engage in discovery practice, and how to wrestle knotty questions of applied ethics. They need to know about the economics of legal practice, something about how a law firm operates, something about the impact of changes in practice, including those brought about by technology.
We are deeply committed to this new vision, where we build on longstanding strengths in clinical education and legal writing.
Today, with 14 clinics, we guarantee clinical placement for every student who wants it, and many clinic participants describe it as the most valuable part of their degree. (Be sure to read further in this issue to see the recent success story out of our 9th Circuit Appellate Representation Clinic.)
We have created a new position in the Career Development Office to maximize student externship opportunities. Amanda Bynum ('09) has been hired for that role--learn more about her below. (And welcome back to campus, Amanda!)
We have also strategically recrafted the curriculum to include more simulation and skills courses, from legal writing and advanced drafting, to trial advocacy and mediation, to professionalism and legal practice.
These efforts and more make Arizona Law a national leader in practical training: National Jurist magazine ranks us as #4 in the country.
But more important than any ranking is the satisfaction that comes with knowing our students have a deep and engaged learning experience and leave Arizona Law better prepared to succeed in the law.