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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 87 PETER A. ALLARD SCHOOL OF LAW FACULTY NEWS By Nikos Harris and Patricia M. Barkaskas* THE ROLE OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN LAW SCHOOL There is currently a debate in Canada and the United States concerning the role of clinical programming in legal education. Some are of the view that law school should be limited to learning substantive law and theory, while other perspectives feel that legal education should include intensive skills training so students are prepared for legal practice upon graduation. In the Canadian context, this discussion has reached the point of suggesting that law schools should take up the responsibility for furnishing students with all necessary practical lawyering skills, making an articling program unnecessary. From our experience as faculty members involved in experiential learning programs at the Allard School of Law, we view clinical education as a critical part of our academic curriculum. But clinical education has its own unique academic and social aims and does not replicate or replace the articling experience. A 2007 report produced by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, titled Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law, first brought to light potential disparities between academic training in law schools and the role of lawyers in the profession.1 This study, which undertook to examine the way that law schools prepare law students for the daily practice of law, found that a holistic approach integrating legal analysis, practical skills and ethical reflection2 is best for preparing law students for practice. Key findings of the report emphasized the important role that skill-building experiential learning and clinical legal educational programs can play in law schools, along with the need to integrate these experiences with critical thinking and ethical learning.3 * Nikos Harris is the Director of Experiential Learning and Patricia M. Barkaskas is the Academic Director, Indigenous Community Legal Clinic, at the Peter A. Allard School of Law.


Jan Advocate 2017
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