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Golden Gate University's 14 New Year's Resolutions for Law Schools in 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/30/13 -- New Year's resolution-making isn't just for people, but should be a requirement for higher education, particularly law schools, according to Professor Wes Porter, Director of Golden Gate University's Law Litigation Center. "Law schools that continually embrace fresh teaching techniques graduate the smartest students possible," says Professor Porter. To help law schools kick-start 2014, he offers 14 New Year's Resolutions for Law Schools:

1. Experiential learning is required. Clinics, externships, and simulations are now mainstream in legal education and, even before it's required by the bar or ABA, law schools must offer students the opportunities for real-world lawyering.

2. Assign lectures as homework and use classroom time for more application, exercises and problem-solving. Law schools must embrace "flipped classrooms," "blended learning," and YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/wporterable?feature=mhee

3. Blend legal doctrine and practical skills. Law schools must weave together the law with its practical application. For example, assign students to interview a witness to decide if elements of a crime are met, or draft a letter to a client in a contract dispute outlining several defenses.

4. Writing isn't just for writing courses. Law students must research, analyze, and write across the curriculum. If they will be "practice ready" when they graduate, then they must be ready to write.

5. Test more. Law schools need to stop giving one final exam marked with a single grade. Students learn better when regularly assessed throughout a course.

6. Provide more feedback. Professors should assess regular written assignments and offer students constructive feedback, just as a partner would to a junior associate.

7. Increase immersion learning. Law schools must offer learning opportunities in addition to the typical one to three class meetings per week structure.

8. Professors must be coach and mentor. Beyond the law, professors should teach students about learning, studying, professionalism, and professional identity and development.

9. Shrink class sizes. Law schools must keep classes small and professor-student interaction high) during and after class. Law schools should capitalize on smaller class sizes to improve and individualize instruction.

10. Remember that Socrates is dead. Students don't learn as well when they are stressed and they don't retain material that they reviewed out of fear. Professors must engage students in the classroom to think constructively about the material.

11. Professors must prove they are scholars or were once lawyers. Professors should discuss their research, ideas, professional experience, and opinions on current events with the students.

12. Help students find their place in the law. Law schools must do everything imaginable to help students reach their places in the evolving legal market and legal services industry.

13. Fill the equal access to justice gap. Law schools must connect those who need but can't afford an attorney with the glut of under-employed new lawyers.

14. Inspire. Law schools and individual professors must inspire the next generation of law graduates to think big, think creatively, and think of others first.

About Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU Law)
GGU Law offers full and part-time law programs that blend practical skills training with legal theory to prepare students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders, with the flexibility to respond to changes in the legal profession. Our mission is to produce a diverse group of graduates with the skill, judgment, and moral compass to become exceptional lawyers and socially responsible members of the global community.

About Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University, a private nonprofit, has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing undergraduate and graduate education in accounting, law, taxation, business. and related areas for more than 110 years. GGU enrolls nearly 5,000 students annually and represents 68,000 alumni. The school's main campus is located at 536 Mission St. in San Francisco, with additional teaching sites in the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Most degree programs are also available entirely online. Founded in 1901, GGU is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

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