Innovations BY DEAN FRANCIS J. MOOTZ III Many law schools are re-examining their curriculum, but at Pacific McGeorge we are doing more than adding a few courses to the standard model. Last year, the faculty adopted an Experiential Curriculum that requires every student to take several courses in which they learn by doing what lawyers do through clinics, externships and practicums. This year, we completed a review of the entire curriculum and have adopted changes that will ensure that students are prepared for the world of legal practice that is just now emerging. We have revamped our adjunct offerings to deliver sophisticated and focused courses, rather than the usual lecture-based courses. Our goal is to ensure that our graduates have not only a rigorous grounding in legal analysis and lawyering skills, but also exposure to the multifaceted demands placed PACI F I C L AW 19 on the modern lawyer. The defining feature of our innovations is interdisciplinary. On many university campuses, the various schools have very little interaction among them. As we rescale the law school to an appropriate size for the market, we are building a graduate campus that offers courses such as Compliance in the Health Care Industry, taught by the compliance manager at Genentech, and Entrepreneurial Management, co-taught by a business school professor and a leading venture capitalist. Working cooperatively with other professional students in these classes, our students will learn critical client relations and project management skills. In the near future, the Sacramento campus will have fully integrated graduate programs that prepare students for careers in law, business and policy. Additionally, we have reinvigorated our Capital Center for Public Law & Policy through an engaged board of advisers that has assisted us in creating a curriculum that ensures that our graduates have what they need to succeed in the capital. Through symposia and lectures in Sacramento, such as the Mike Belote Endowed Capital Center Lecture, Pacific McGeorge has cemented its reputation in one of the country’s most important state capitals. As the California economy recovers and the state begins to grow, we will ensure that our graduates are well-prepared to seize opportunities. We will be focusing on certain areas of expertise that have particular relevance for the local, regional and national economies. We are building advisory groups to ensure that we can excel in the areas of water law and health law, two critical areas of growth in the legal market. Innovation is not limited to doing something entirely new, however. As the legal landscape changes rapidly, it is important to re-emphasize the core capacities that lawyers must exhibit. Our Center for Advocacy & Alternative Dispute Resolution will coordinate this foundational training for our students, from first-year legal writing, through advocacy courses, and on to moot court and mock trial competition teams. Effective lawyers are strong listeners and excellent communicators. Solving problems is possible only when lawyers understand the problem and can effectively negotiate, advocate and plan. These skills are refined in advocacy and dispute resolution settings. In ancient Greece, the core liberal arts education was built around what today we would call moot court exercises. Because the legal market is so dynamic, we need to reaffirm our commitment to education in these key areas of lawyering skills for which Pacific McGeorge has long been recognized.
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2014
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