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Tulane’s New Skills Training Draws National Recognition

February 21, 2013

Tulane Law School’s initiatives to expand skills-training opportunities for students have recently won national recognition on several fronts.

NerdScholar, a national blog and website aimed at providing comparative consumer information to prospective students, recently featured Tulane Law School for “training better lawyers” through innovative skills training.  The story highlights the Law School’s redesign of its externship program, which now permits students to earn academic credit for supervised field placements in government and public-interest law offices across the globe, and its new lawyering-skills “boot camp” for upper-class students.  (See http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/nerdscholar/2013/creating-lawyers-tulane-university-law-school/.)

Tulane Law School’s boot camp, which provides students with an immersion experience in simulated law practice taught by more than 100 seasoned attorneys recruited from across the country, was also featured in at least four separate panel discussions at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in January 2013:

  • In a panel focusing on new approaches in advanced law school curriculum organized by Harvard Law Professor Todd Rakoff, Professor Jancy Hoeffel was invited to present Tulane’s innovation in creating its Intersession boot camp.  As Tulane’s Vice Dean for Academic Affairs until 2012, Professor Hoeffel played a leading role in organizing and launching the program.

  • In a panel of law firm hiring partners, Kim Boyle, a partner in the leading New Orleans-based Phelps Dunbar firm and former president of the Louisiana state bar, praised the boot camp as an exemplar of the sort of innovation in legal education that can make students more marketable to employers.

  • In a plenary session on retooling law school to ready graduates for globalized law practice, Tulane Law alumnus Alan Stone (L ’87), head of global litigation for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York City and a regular faculty member in Tulane’s civil-litigation boot camp, highlighted the program as an example of leading practical innovation in legal education.

  • In a plenary session focused on alumni contributions to legal education, Shannon Woodward, the Law School’s Senior Director of Alumni and Development, was invited to present the boot camp’s success in promoting alumni engagement and development, as well as hiring opportunities for students.

Tulane Law School’s boot camp previously won Tulane recognition as one of the nation’s “20 Most Innovative Law Schools” by National Jurist magazine last fall.  According to the magazine’s editors, Tulane and the other honorees were selected for “pushing the boundaries of the traditional law school model and experimenting at a level that legal education has not seen” in recent years.

Last week, Tulane Law School again drew broad notice in announcing the appointment of former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten as Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning.  Letten, widely credited with helping to lead New Orleans’ impressive revitalization after Hurricane Katrina and until recently the longest serving United States Attorney in the country, will coordinate existing skills offerings and lead Tulane’s ongoing effort to connect students with the practice of law throughout their legal education.


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