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College of Law recognized nationally as innovative

Loyola press release - September 30, 2013

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law has been recognized among the top innovative law schools in the country by the National Jurist and preLaw magazines for its new approach to legal education to debut in fall 2014. National Jurist is a leading legal publication for law students and preLaw magazine targets prospective law students.

The publications highlighted the College of Law for establishing “Practice Tracks,” a program that will give students the opportunity to observe and learn skills directly from experienced lawyers. Under “Practice Tracks,” law students may elect to develop their practical skills in civil litigation, criminal practice, transactional practice or a social justice track.

The College of Law’s new approach to legal education will also require students to take four core skills courses dedicated to essential lawyering skills such as client interviewing, negotiation, cross-cultural communication and law office management.

“The College of Law offers forward-thinking legal education, continually looking to the latest approaches in innovative experiential learning. We are dedicated to Loyola’s mission and the Jesuit tradition of ‘holistic’ education so that each law student has the skills and competencies necessary to be a confident professional on the day of graduation,” College of Law Dean María Pabón López, J.D., said.

“We developed this focus on practical training based on the needs of potential employers and a changing legal landscape. I am confident that our ‘Practice Tracks’ will encourage students to become more engaged in their law school education and will create opportunities to become more marketable,” said Christine Cerniglia Brown ’98, J.D. ’03, who leads the College of Law’s Office of Skills and Experiential Learning.

After testing the new approach with a small number of law students this year, the College of Law is seeing higher enrollment in skills courses with more engagement and positive comments. "As a law school student, I rarely have time to think about the interviewing process. Now I know how to handle myself and I have ideas of how I may want to conduct a client interview," one student said in a survey.

The College of Law’s emphasis on an experiential education has led to its acceptance in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a consortium of 25 leading law schools across the country dedicated to transforming legal education. By offering a structured and highly collaborative approach to reimagining legal education, Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers is creating a foundation for ongoing inquiry, exploration and measurement of experiential learning initiatives.

The College of Law is also a member of the Alliance on Experiential Education hosted by Northeastern University School of Law. The alliance promotes methods to ensure law graduates are prepared with the necessary skills and ethical and social values necessary to serve clients and the public interest.

“We could not innovate and gain such national recognition without the help of our dedicated skills faculty. This shared sense of community is what makes Loyola special,” Brown said.