The training of lawyers in the 21st century

January 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

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Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja presenting his paper in Brussels at the CCNE Training conference on 14th December 2017

Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja presenting his paper in Brussels at the CCBE Training conference on 14th December 2017

This is a short blog by Jarkko Männistö, Asianajaja, OTT outlining key points from his intervention at the CCBE conference on Training of Lawyers, challenges and opportunities, Brussels, 14 December 2017.

I have been teaching advocacy to students, bar exam candidates, and experienced attorneys for almost 15 years. What I have learned, through a series of trials and errors, is that students learn what they want to learn. And only what they want to learn.

Based on this experience I argue that continuing legal education in the 21st century should, above all, be a positive experience to those we wish to educate.

The following are, what I consider, the four cornerstones of the positive learning experience.

Go online, go live
Lawyers are chronically time constrained. So take legal education online whenever you can. If a lawyer can save an hour or two of travel time, he or she just might spend a good part of the time saved learning something new.

If you want to lecture, broadcast it live. Livestream lecture with a real time chat is a great way on engaging students from the comfort of their own office or home.

Show, don’t tell
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. If you do not agree with this, show your students how it’s done. It’s easy enough to say that you should write clearly and concisely. Following that instruction is the hard part.

Lawyers must apply law to concrete problems. Continuing legal education should help them do that, which is why continuing legal education should be all about application.

Doing is learning
Sitting still and listening someone talk about the law is, even for most lawyers, dreadfully boring. Don’t put your students’ brain into hibernation.

Instead, activate your students. Ask questions. Create problems. Make them do the work, because that’s what learning requires. Hard work. Doing stuff with your brain. Not having it done for you by someone else (the teacher).

Be a coach
People avoid things which cause them embarrasment. Never make people feel bad about themselves, because most of them will not study harder to avoid further embarrasment. Instead, they will take the easy way out, which is to avoid your lectures.

So, accept everyone come in “as is”. You have succeeded as a teacher, if they leave equipped with more knowledge than they came in. And more importantly, with a hunger to learn more.

Jarkko Männistö
Attorney, LL.D.

This posting is an adaptation of the speech Jarkko gave on 14 December in Brussels in the CCBE Seminar titled “Training of lawyers, challenges and opportunities”.

Jarkko

Jarkko

Save the Date: CCBE Training Conference, 14 Dec. 2017, Brussels

August 24th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

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Please note that the Conference will be held in English.

Further information will follow in the coming weeks.

Streetlaw Best Practice Conference, 7-8 September 2016

August 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Streetlaw is the term often used to describe university public legal education programmes.

Many universities in the UK and Ireland send law students into schools, community groups and other organisations to educate people on their legal rights and responsibilities. Streetlaw utilises an interactive methodology which encourages participants to actively engage and to understand how the law relates to them.

Inspired by the first International Street Law Best Practices Conference, held in South Africa earlier this year, Birmingham Law School will host the first regional UK and Ireland event. It will take place at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT. During this interactive two day conference, participants will share Streetlaw best practice from across the globe. The conference will cover:

  • Different models for community engagement through Streetlaw;
  • Sample Streetlaw best practice sessions;
  • How to design your own Streetlaw sessions;
  • Tips and ideas for developing your Streetlaw programme; and
  • Incorporating Streetlaw into the curriculum.

If you have a best practice session that you would like to share at the conference, please email Linden Thomas l.thomas@bham.ac.uk with the details.

UK and Ireland Streetlaw Conference 7-8 September, Birmingham Law School..

Organised by: 

  • Patrick Cahill (Queen Mary University of London),
  • Richard Grimes,
  • John Lunney (Law Society of Ireland), and
  • Linden Thomas (University of Birmingham)

Conference fee: £50 per person*

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT

How to book: You can register your place by visiting the online shop of the University of Birmingham.

Please note that places at the conference are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.