The Future Practice of Law
Edited by William van Caenegem and Mary Hiscock
Chapter 13: Preparing law students for an international legal practice through law school tutorials
A comprehensive knowledge of the law is no longer enough for a graduating lawyer to offer a prospective employer. The current dynamic legal market, especially for international legal practice, requires most lawyers to have quick, sharp and strong thinking and speaking skills. In fact, these skills are needed even more than writing skills. A lawyer usually spends most of his or her time talking to a client, leading a negotiation, attending an internal meeting or presenting a case before a tribunal. The ability to think critically, laterally and logically, and to articulate one's views clearly and persuasively is constantly required. Notwithstanding this clear requirement of the market, many law schools still maintain a traditional teaching and learning style whereby law students go to law school only to ‘learn the law’, but not these important lawyering skills. This is particularly true for many law schools in Asia where law schools are believed to teach the law only and skills training is left to law firms or other institutions. This traditional mindset is causing these law schools to fall increasingly behind law schools in other parts of the world. Consequently their law graduates find it hard to compete with lawyers from other jurisdictions. Law graduates from these traditional law schools are often slow in adapting to real life practice. Worse, they may find it difficult to change the passive attitude which they have developed at their law schools.
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