Lawrence Lawson 0

Save the Small Group

89 signers. Add your name now!
Lawrence Lawson 0 Comments
89 signers. Almost there! Add your voice!
Maxine K. signed just now
Adam B. signed just now

The Curriculum Committee has proposed dramatic changes to the 1L small group. They propose to reduce small group classes to one semester and to expand the role of Legal Research & Writing ("LRW") to both terms and to require a 1L moot for every student. This change will have far-reaching implications for students’ first-year learning experience.

The proposal is short on detail and provides no clear benefit to students. The committee has proposed this decision very late in the year and at a time when both students and faculty are too busy to devote significant attention to a reform of this magnitude. A fundamental change to the first year program deserves careful thought and attention. We do not believe that is possible at this time.

We believe that the full year small group benefits students. A year-long small group provides students the chance to delve deeply into one area of law on a theoretical level that would be untenable in three months. Further, long-term writing assignments offer students a chance to hone their legal writing skills in a way fundamentally different than what is taught in LRW. The Faculty is proud of its strong tradition of excellence in legal research. Neutering the small group could potentially eliminate a law student's best opportunity to work closely with an outstanding professor in an area of law for a whole year. Also, it is unclear how incoming 1Ls would adjust to delivering all 1L writing assignments in one semester. This increased workload is untested and current 1Ls have already expressed confusion as to how the faculty intends to implement this in a way that reduces, not increases, stress during an already difficult time that the first semester of 1L is. Perhaps the solution is to cut down the total number of assignments in both LRW and small group? We express concern at eliminating opportunities for students to preform high-quality legal research alongside industry leaders.

We oppose this proposal and the lack of consultation surrounding these fundamental changes. We call on Faculty Council to reject these changes until the Curriculum Committee has come up with a more comprehensive, detailed, and carefully constructed proposal and has sufficiently reached out to the student body. We firmly believe that any radical change to the JD program must involve significant community consultation and incorporate feedback from it. This rash change could deny incoming 1Ls the opportunity to engage in what we have all benefited from.

Share for Success