New York, NY (April 20, 2011)—New York Law School (NYLS) and Harvard Law School are pleased to announce the winner of Future Ed, a year-long contest that challenged the legal education community to uncover the best ideas for the future of U.S. and global legal education. The winner was chosen during the final conference in the series, held at NYLS on April 15 and 16, 2011. NYLS also announced a series of initiatives to continue the innovation and collaboration that the Future Ed competition sought to establish.
Thirteen proposals were presented to the conference audience of more than 100 deans, law school faculty, and lawyers from the U.S. and abroad. Each conference registrant was given $1 million in virtual currency to allocate to the most promising proposals based on feasibility, likely impact, and cost. Read all the proposals here.
The winning proposal, “Apps for Justice: Learning Law by Creating Software,” presented by Ron Staudt of Chicago-Kent College of Law and Marc Lauritsen of Capstone Practice Systems calls for students to learn more about the law by creating software applications that would empower people to address their own legal problems. The authors say that their proposal is “self-consciously focused on institutionalizing an organic engine for growth of new resources to support education in new skills that are now critical for lawyer competency while, at the same time, supporting legal services to the poor.”
The runner-up, “Seriously Gamifying Legal Learning” presented by NYLS professors David Johnson and Tanina Rostain, calls for the creation of a network of law schools, law professors, practitioners, law students, and others to collaborate to develop and distribute interactive, online games and simulations designed to enable legal learning.
In addition to the proposal presentations, the conference included panels and speeches, including an address from NYLS Professor Elizabeth Chambliss, principal organizer of Future Ed, who opened the conference with a call for increased collaboration between law schools. Keynote speeches were made by Richard A. Matasar, Dean and President of NYLS and James Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. Dean Matasar challenged participants to support the need for law school diversification and cooperation with other institutions to accelerate the attainment of the J.D. and drive down costs for students.
“Being a lawyer is a wonderful career, a chance to serve others, and to have great autonomy,” Dean Matasar said. “Now is the time for all of us in legal education to give students the opportunity to pursue their dreams by finding ways to improve the quality of our education, stabilize its costs, and find efficiencies that we can pass on to students to allow them to become lawyers more quickly and at a lower cost.”
Dean Matasar closed the conference by announcing a series of collaborative initiatives that NYLS will participate in:
• NYLS and Lawline.com have formed an alliance to bring online legal learning resources to law students and others who want to learn about law. Lawline.com, a major provider of online continuing legal education (CLE) materials, has recently launched a new service, called learn.lawline.com, offering access to hundreds of hours of educational videos, for free. Lawline.com will work with NYLS to develop and repurpose additional video materials, some of which will be created regularly for classes and conferences held at the Law School, and some of which will be developed especially for this new, broader audience.
• NYLS will provide scholarships to attend Solo Practice University (SPU) to 10 of its third-year students. SPU provides online classes, tools, and other services to help lawyers succeed in today’s marketplace. The scholarship winners will attend SPU while in law school. In addition, NYLS will work with SPU to make discounted access available to recent graduates and alumni. Access to this pilot program will be available for free, beginning next fall. Internally, NYLS will also be offering a new course on starting and running a law firm, and some of the students who elect to take the course will be expected to participate in the online pilot program.
• Dean Matasar and the deans of the Australian National University College of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, the University of Miami School of Law, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and Southwestern Law School are forming a consortium to begin conversation on how law schools can collaborate to use technology more effectively and expansively in legal education. The group will look at creating an online platform for delivering distance education that the schools themselves would own. This would allow experts from different law schools to teach across campuses. The groups will also consider developing legal education content such as games and other learning tools.
To learn more about Future Ed and watch video of all three conferences, please visit www.nyls.edu/futureed.
New York Law School
Founded in 1891, New York Law School is an independent law school located in lower Manhattan near the city’s centers of law, government, and finance. New York Law School’s renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the School’s strength in such areas as constitutional law, civil and human rights, labor and employment law, media and information law, urban legal studies, international and comparative law, and a number of interdisciplinary fields. The School is noted for its nine academic centers: Center on Business Law & Policy, Center on Financial Services Law, Center for International Law, Center for New York City Law, Center for Professional Values and Practice, Center for Real Estate Studies, Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families, Institute for Information Law & Policy, and Justice Action Center. New York Law School has more than 13,000 graduates and enrolls some 1,500 students in its full- and part-time J.D. program and its four advanced degree programs in financial services law, real estate, tax, and mental disability law studies. www.nyls.edu
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