Historical Perspective on Curricular Reform:
Matt Bodie's post on whether we are experiencing a "new era of law school innovation" in the curriculum reminds me of a very interesting article I recently read: John C. Weistart, The Law School Curriculum: The Process of Reform, 1987 Duke L.J. 317.

  The article begins with a familiar-sounding refrain:
There is an appearance of great ferment in discussions of the American law school and its curriculum. Proposals for reform abound. Some of these criticize the general structure--or lack of structure--in the traditional curriculum. Others suggest that the law school curriculum is deficient for its failure to provide instruction in a particular subject matter or skill. Economics, other social sciences, lawyering, mediation, and other litigation avoidance devices are among the new perspectives frequently urged.
  Professor Weistart summarizes the curricular reform movements in previous decades as including the following major trends, borrowing from a list by Murray Schwartz:
(a) the interest in international law in the 1950's and 1960's;
(b) the revival of an interest in the social sciences in the 1960's;
(c) the insistence on 'relevance' in the curriculum in the early 1970's, as reflected in courses such as poverty law and consumer protection;
(d) the Carrington Report of 1971, with its acceptance of the feasibility of a two-year curriculum and a clear demarcation between general and advanced law studies;
(e) responses to the articulated concern for deteriorating professional ethics, including various proposals for instruction in ethics;
(f) the clinical education movement of the 1970's and 1980's, with its proposals for broadened skills training and reduced reliance on appellate case review as the basic methodology of legal education; and,
(g) the law and economics movement of the 1970's and 1980's, which prompted both a reorientation of some traditional courses and the implementation of new advanced offerings.
  He then summarizes some of the proposals floated in the 1980s that were receiving a great deal of attention at law schools at the time:
Several different themes appear in recent proposals. There are a number of suggestions for a more thorough integration of the social sciences. Others urge that greater attention be given to legal theory, including theories of law, rights, and authority. Proposals for a significant expansion of clinical education can be found, including one that would reorient the basic introductory curriculum around clinical methods. Under other proposals, the study of 'values,' both political and cultural, would assume a more explicit role. In addition, there are various specific skills and subject areas that are suggested for inclusion in the modern curriculum. Those that have received the most attention recently include statistics, alternative dispute resolution, and techniques in written and oral communication.
  The recent proposals aren't identical to what was proposed a few decades ago. But it's interesting to see at least some degree of similarity.


Historical Perspective on Curricular Reform

As I pondered late and weary
Lawyers blogs both long and dreary

I read that as

Historical Perspective on Circular Reform

which someone seems vaguely appropriate
12.1.2006 1:46am