Context and Practice Series

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Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz, a nationally known teaching and learning scholar, designed the Context and Practice Series to make it easy for professors to implement the ideas in Best Practices for Legal Education (CLEA 2007) and in the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Practice of Law (2007). Schwartz has authored three books and two law review articles on law school learning, has spoken about teaching and learning at more than two dozen law schools, and is a named contributing editor to Best Practices.

A few principles are core to the series’ vision. Best Practices recommends that law professors set high expectations, “engage the students in active learning,” “give regular and prompt feedback,” “help students improve their self-directed learning skills,” “employ multiple methods of instruction,” and, in particular, “use context-based instruction.” Educating Lawyers argues that law professors need to do a better job helping students build practice skills and develop their professional identities.

Accordingly, the books in this series:

  • Provide resources, such as multiple-choice question banks and essays with answers, designed to make it easier for professors to provide students opportunities for practice and feedback;
  • Focus on problem-solving in simulated law practice contexts across a wide range of practices, including both advocacy and transactional practices;
  • Include teachers’ manuals that make it easy to use multiple methods of instruction and to emphasize active learning;
  • Guide students’ development of self-directed learning strategies;
  • Incorporate learning objectives and doctrinal overviews and situate topics in the law practice contexts in which they arise;
  • Include questions that prompt readers to question, reflect, and analyze as they read;
  • Provide exercises that require students to reflect on the roles of lawyers and their own professional development;
  • Integrate self-regulated learning skills and exercises; and
  • Help students to discover links between what they are learning and real life.
  • "First-year professors need to provide their students with frequent formative assessment--critical feedback. One way to do this is to have problem-solving exercises at the end of each chapter or unit. Newer casebooks are including such exercises. I especially recommend the Carolina Academic Press Context and Practice Series." - Legal Skills Prof Blog

View the Context and Practice Series Flier (PDF)