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The Newsletter contains information on case studies and role plays to help you plan upcoming courses and professional development with actively engaging, participant-centered learning.

Spotlight on Educators
Case Studies Conversations: Dr. Lisa Rohrer
Harvard Law School
Georgetown University Law Center

Lisa Rohrer will tell you that she’s “drunk the case studies Kool-Aid.” She has been writing and teaching case studies for years, and as the newly appointed executive director of the Case Development Initiative, she’ll be overseeing the biggest source of case studies at Harvard Law School. We sat down with Lisa to hear more about her experiences in the classroom:

How do you prepare for teaching a case study?
LR: It’s so helpful to talk to others who have taught case studies. If I don’t know a case or have no other experience with it, I often reach out to colleagues or read teaching notes, both to get ideas as well as a sense of how students typically react to the various issues presented in the case. Read full interview...

Case Studies Conversations: Scott Westfahl
Harvard Law School

Professor Scott Westfahl ’88, the new faculty director of HLS Executive Education, has been using case studies to train better lawyers for years. Not only did Westfahl serve as Director of Professional Development for Goodwin Procter LLP and Chair of the Professional Development Consortium, but he has also co-taught a section of the HLS Problem Solving Workshop yearly since its inception in 2010. I sat down with Westfahl to hear how case studies and experiential learning inform his mission for educating both seasoned professionals and aspiring lawyers:

Why are case studies important for professional development?
People learn best through the power of story and discussion, and professional development requires context.  Law firms and legal educators are now realizing that the typical talking-head panel discussions or partner-delivered PowerPoint presentations on legal topics are mostly ineffective for helping lawyers put theory into practice. Read full interview...  

The 1L as Lawyer with Andy Williams
NYU School of Law

Decades before the cries that law school curricula needed stronger practical components, NYU had a practical course called Lawyering. “My sense is that it was never a response to internal pressure,” says Andy Williams, Director of the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law. “[The founders] felt it was the right way to teach.” Fashioned as the first moment of practice for future lawyers, this year-long simulation course teaches 1L students to think like lawyers.

Though this mission is shared with Harvard Law’s own Problem Solving Workshop, Williams clarifies that Lawyering is not simply a problem solving course. Read full article...

The 1L as Lawyer with David Thomson
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

In the first-year Lawyering Process Program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, students are encouraged to “lean forward” while learning and jump into their identities as lawyers. Beginning in the early 1990s as a basic legal research class taught by adjunct professors, the Program has evolved into a foundational course taught by full-time faculty. It is the first component of the Experiential Advantage Program, a full year of experiential courses that students take as 2Ls or 3Ls. In addition to building writing and research skills, Lawyering Process incorporates practical simulations and problem solving. The course meets twice a week for 75 minutes, earning 3 credits each semester.

David Thomson, former Director of the program, is a leading voice discussing the future of legal education. Read full article...

New FREE Problem Solving Offerings
Professor Howell Jackson contributed a new case study to the Problem Solving Workshop collection, and Professor Charles Nesson developed four new case studies on Internet and Society for the Advanced Problem Solving Workshop:
Critical Decisions in Negotiation
For years, HLS Professor Bob Bordone lamented that there was not an easily accessible, high quality teaching resource for negotiation instructors to demonstrate a range of critical negotiation behaviors to their students in practice.  Bordone explains, “Helping students develop new behavioral moves in the heat of the moment and deepen their capacity for self-diagnosis and reflection is hard work.” Bordone and his staff at the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program use the teaching technique of “fishbowls” in the HLS classroom to great effect—in which the professor moderates a live negotiation, with teaching assistants role playing the negotiation and students stopping the action frequently to discuss the proceedings as they unfold. But when teaching executive education classes where time and teaching staff might be more limited or when teaching to very large groups, it is often difficult to use these live “fishbowls.” Hoping to bring the fishbowl technique to more classrooms, Bordone and colleagues Toby Berkman and Chad Carr spearheaded the Critical Decisions in Negotiation project, now available as a 3-DVD set on the Case Studies portal. Read full article...
Bonus Materials
Sample Videos
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2013 Wrapup

The last word on the year in legal education
For more information, or to discuss how to adapt our case studies for your academic or professional education needs, contact Lisa Brem, Case Studies Program Manager, at
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