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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer2015

Innovations BY DEAN FRANCIS J. MOOTZ III History often provides comfort during challenging times by reminding us that we have overcome daunting problems before. As legal education and legal practice face disruptive change, it is helpful to look back to the first issue of the California Law Review, published in 1912. The issue opens with an address delivered at the dedication of Boalt Hall by the dean and founder of the law school. “The Problem of the Law School” has a particularly provocative opening: The law schools of this country have never faced their problems. Like most institutions coming down from generation to generation, they have been slow to inquire into the original justification of their plans and programs, or to seek to learn whether what was once justified still retained its reason for being. PACI F I C L AW 11 The dean championed the “scientific” case method of instruction as the solution to the problems of legal education, but these words could be written today with equal validity as we attempt to move beyond the model created more than 100 years ago. I am proud that Pacific McGeorge is a leader in recreating legal education to serve the needs of tomorrow’s lawyers. Our graduates this year will likely be practicing law in 2060. We are innovating in numerous ways to provide them with the tools to be lifelong learners and entrepreneurs who can navigate the rapidly evolving roles of lawyers in society. Every McGeorge student now takes a required course in Statutes and Regulations, in recognition of the regulatory nature of most modern law, and a course in the Legal Profession, in recognition of the need for students to be prepared for contemporary practice. From this base, our students will choose courses from an experientially rich and modernized curriculum that positions them for success upon graduation. Innovations in the law school curriculum tell only part of the story, however. Contemporary practice is increasingly interdisciplinary, and lawyers increasingly are employed in jobs that do not even require bar membership. The University recognizes the need for more interdisciplinary elements, and so we have embarked on the development of a Sacramento Graduate Campus that will host degree programs in law, business and policy. Pacific McGeorge students will be able to complement their deep knowledge of legal doctrine with courses on public policy analysis, entrepreneurship and financial accounting. Working on projects with their future colleagues and clients will provide the broad, real-world experience that is absent when law is taught in a silo. The challenges we face today are very real, but so are the opportunities. One of the most astute commentators on legal practice and education, Richard Susskind, hits the nail on the head: The legal market is in an unprecedented state of flux. Over the next two decades, the way in which lawyers work will change radically. Entirely new ways of delivering legal services will emerge, new providers will enter the market, and the workings of our courts will be transformed. Unless they adapt, many traditional legal businesses will fail. On the other hand, a whole set of fresh opportunities will present themselves to entrepreneurial and creative young lawyers. Pacific McGeorge graduates will be positioned to take advantage of these exciting new opportunities.


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer2015
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