Episode 13 - Legal Education Done Differently in the US: Legal Innovators

Episode 13 - Legal Education Done Differently in the US: Legal Innovators


The legal industry has changed. It stands to reason that legal education should too. But, that's a big ship to turn around and it's taking more time than the unrelenting pace of business today can easily accommodate. To be fair, it's not just legal education under scrutiny here, it's the whole higher education sector but within it, many would readily agree that law has been one of the most reluctant to embrace change! And, while some of the issues are undeniably complex and rightfully demand careful consideration, that in and of itself cannot be a reason to refrain from experimentation, especially in experiential and practical legal education.

So, what will the new practical legal education regime look like? That's a question being debated across the world right now. It's on the agenda as much for the early adopters of practical legal education models like Australia, through those preparing new entrants for new legal practice models like the UK, to those in transition to different models by state versus nationally like the US. The approaches being considered or implemented are also different. Some providers offer stop gap measures, and some are building bridges. Some of these models will stay and some will go. Some are working on their models in isolation and others through collaboration. And then there's the legal education innovators, a small group who are thinking outside the box - reimagining, reinventing and embracing a new way of thinking about the function, role and importance of the rule of law, access to justice and the different ways to practice law - and creating education opportunities to prepare people for that reality!

Legal Innovators (LI), a Washington, DC based organisation, has created one of these new practical legal education opportunities. It bridges the gap between law school and legal practice. Its own business and education models draw on the significant real-world experience of its founders. LI has created an alternative legal education model for law students and early career lawyers - one that emphasises and embraces the importance of diversity and inclusion in contemporary legal practice, is founded on providing relevant learning opportunities, mentoring and supporting law students in their transition from law school to legal practice. It's an organisation leading by example, getting on with solving the practical legal education gap in the US and making a difference. It's a new model for legal education - more connected with industry, focusing on learning on the job and, getting a job at the end of the day.

We spoke with Jon Greenblatt, Co-founder and Chairman of LI to learn more about the US legal education sector, the issues LI sought to solve and how it has gone about doing it.

Thank you so much, Jon - congrats to you, Bryan Parker and Team LI for changing mindsets, changing lives and doing legal education differently!