My UCLAW colleague Gerald Lopez has published a very interesting recent article arguing for a transformation of legal education:
This Vision defines, in ambitious intellectual and pedagogical terms, what lawyers do, describes the capacities superb practitioners demonstrate, and delineates the aims and means to train law students to be as practice-ready as three years of first-rate education allows and to grow better and better at what they do through deliberate choices made over a career. Because the Alternative Vision traces its origins, its implementation, its improvements to the best of clinical programs in the United States, many will likely regard it as presumptively unworthy, even ridiculous: a mongrel rather than a Blue Blood, perhaps practically-minded but at best only spuriously intellectual. Meeting this scorn head-on, Part II sketches the radically different assumptions, methods, and aspirations at the heart of the Alternative Vision, explains why we should ban the Socratic case method and scrupulously scrutinize all familiar learning formats, and measures all of us involved in legal education by how well suited we are (or could become) to the teaching and learning a transformed legal education demands.
Gerald P. López, Transform-Don't Just Tinker with-Legal Education (Part II), 24 Clin. L. Rev. 247 (2018).
Professor Lopez continues:
Some teachers have been thoroughly flummoxed by the aims and methods of the Socratic case method. Yet, most often, they keep those thoughts and feelings to themselves. Or at most they share them with a small circle of trusted friends and co-workers. Yet, again in the twenty-first century, much as in decades earlier, some have written openly about the rebellion they staged by turning exclusively to lectures. Perhaps most prominently, Stephen Bainbridge published a lecture he gave on the occasion of receiving a prestigious teaching award at UCLA. The article proves uncommonly candid and illuminating about the experience of finding the Socratic case method, as a student and a teacher, disappointing and confusing and even perhaps worse than useless. Particularly in sharing in print his unfolding thinking and decision-making about pedagogy, in a profession where so few legal academics talk in print about Socratic case method teaching, Bainbridge remains a must-read. ...
... Defenders would likely say Leiter and Bainbridge are outliers. In their willingness to speak and write openly about their experiences, their convictions, their choices, perhaps they are. They would appear, however, to be part of a growing plurality of faculty, perhaps even a (mainly) silent majority.
Id. at 351-52.
The article to which he refers is Reflections on Twenty Years of Law Teaching, 56 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 13 (2008). My thanks to Professor Lopez for the very kind remarks, which I hope will further the cause of driving the Socratic Method into its well deserved place in the dustbin of history.