A couple of items caught my eye in the most recent issue of “Business Law Today.”
One is an article by Susan J. Irion entitled “The New Classroom—Learning How to Draft Contracts in the Real World.” It discusses how law firms are using training in contract drafting to sharpen the skills of their business lawyers, and how law schools are introducing contract-drafting concepts. Susan is director of professional development at DLA Piper. She was one of the organizers of a useful conference on teaching contract drafting that was held at Northwestern University School of Law in July 2005.
The other item is an article by Francesca Jarosz entitled “None of Your Business? No—Law Schools Need to Bring Their Business Law Teaching Up to Date.” It describes how “From Yale to UCLA, professors are stepping outside of law schools’ traditional theoretical boundaries and allowing students to get concrete experience with transactional law.” Contract drafting is one of the topics discussed, and yours truly makes a brief appearance.
These articles are a further indication that training in transactional skills, including contract drafting, has been attracting a considerable amount of attention.
3 thoughts on “The Sept.–Oct. 2006 Issue of “Business Law Today””
Susan Irion’s article should be required reading for all law school curriculum committees. My own law school has made some progress. At Thomas Cooley we require that students take a third-year Advanced Legal Writing course. In it they draft an opinion letter, contract, statute or rule, pleading, and jury instruction. I wish we also offered a course or seminar devoted strictly to contract drafting, along the lines of what Ms. Irion describes.
According to a survey reported in the most recent issue of The Second Draft, bulletin of the Legal Writing Institute, forty-six law schools now offer an upper-level elective course on contract drafting.
The September 25, 2006, issue of the National Law Journal contains an article by Walter P. Dellinger and Brian P. Brooks entitled “Reimagining Attorney Development.” It includes the following sentence: “Many private practitioners have observed that law school curricula appear every year to grow more disconnected from the day-to-day practice of law; it is increasingly rare to find a recent law school graduate who has taken coursework in remedies, agency or commercial paper, and increasingly common to find recent grads who have studied Icelandic blood feuds, game theory and Foucault.”
This is at odds with the gist of the Business Law Today articles noted above. I suspect that the BLT articles more accurately reflect current trends.