Out of the Shadows: What Legal Research Instruction Reveals about Incorporating Skills throughout the Curriculum

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Vol: 2013, Issue: 1

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Fines, Barbara Glesner
legal research; legal education; legal instruction; Dispute Resolution and Arbitration; Law
conference paper description
The article first examines the politics of curricular reform. Before a law school will be able to increase or improve any skills instruction, the targeted skill must be important to enough to affect the curriculum. For example, sometimes law schools send inconsistent messages about the importance of legal research instruction. While external voices such as ABA accreditation standards and surveys of the practicing bar have long-recognized importance of the skills of legal research, evidence of the importance of the skill in the law school curriculum is mixed. If asked, most faculty members will agree that a given skill, such as legal research, is important. However, for that skill to be integrated into the curriculum in a way that will substantially affect graduate competencies, the skill must be important enough in the hierarchy of the faculty and curriculum to justify the costs of curricular change.