Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Eric Talley (Berkeley) asked me to share this; it might shed some light on whether law schools are really equipped to offer the "experiential" learning that some are trying to mandate ill-advisedly.
To: Practitioners and Educators in Transactional/Business Law
From: Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCLBE)
UC Berkeley School of Law
Re: Assessing skills/competencies for transactional attorneys
Date: 14 Feb. 2014
We write to ask two small (but important) favors of you that are directly related to law schools' pedagogical mission as well as the rapidly changing future of legal education.
As you may know, an ABA task force has recently proposed to establish minimum requirements within ABA-accredited law schools for "experiential" learning related to building practical skills and competencies. (Similar proposals are percolating up from state bar association task forces as well.) We believe this endeavor to be an intriguing and important invitation for law schools to re-imagine how they deliver legal education, and on this basis we are generally supportive. At the same time, a challenging question that the ABA and other task forces face is the question of what topics constitute "skills and competencies." Within business law, this challenge is perhaps greatest for attorneys whose practice is principally "transactional" in nature (in contrast to work that is oriented around litigation). It is unclear how much input transactionally-oriented business law practitioners (attorneys, other professionals, educators) have had on the process of drafting the proposed guidelines, or whether there has been much systematic analysis of what topics constitute important "skills" for entering transactional attorneys.
To address these gaps, we have developed an on-line survey instrument to help gauge what sorts of core competencies established professionals in transactional practice areas consider important. We hope the results of the survey will help both practitioners and legal educators assess (and if necessary, work to amend) the current proposed guidelines. Although largely directed to practicing attorneys, the survey is also open to other professionals who work closely with practicing attorneys in transactional practices (such as bankers, accountants, financial advisers, etc.).
Here are the two favors we ask of you:
(1) Please take a few moments yourself to fill out the survey. It will not take longer than 5-10 minutes of your time.
(2) Please ask your colleagues, partners, associates, co-workers, and other professional contacts to consider filling out the survey.
The more input we can get from experts in the area the better advice we'll both receive and be able to give.
The survey is available on-line, at
When complete, results of the survey will be made available on the website for the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCLBE), at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/bclbe.htm.
Many thanks for considering this - we very much appreciate it.
Faculty Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy