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New role for a nationally recognized Elon Law educator

Professor Steve Friedland’s appointment as associate dean for innovation in engaged learning in law will help Elon Law continue to identify and promote better ways to prepare today’s students to serve as leaders in the legal profession.

Professor Steve Friedland is serving as Elon Law's first associate dean for innovation in engaged learning in law.

A professor named among the top legal educators in the country is taking the lead at Elon Law in identifying, assessing, and promoting more effective ways to teach and prepare students for a changing legal profession.

Professor Steve Friedland, a former assistant U.S. attorney and assistant director at what is today the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, is now serving as the school’s first associate dean for innovation in engaged learning in law.

Friedland will examine traditional teaching methods, which he says remain important for understanding the law, and lead a national conversation on how to supplement those methods using technologies and techniques found to be successful in other academic disciplines.

“A major focus of my work will be on design thinking and how it can benefit the creation of innovations in legal education,” Friedland said. “Studies have shown that engaged learning provides many advantages to students, and my job is to promote that engagement both in and outside of the classroom.”

Friedland’s devotion to teaching can be seen in the teaching awards he has won at three different law schools and his inclusion with 25 other law teachers in the 2013 Harvard University Press book, “What the Best Law Teachers Do.” Since moving to North Carolina as a founding faculty member at Elon Law, his desire to continually improve upon longstanding methods of teaching have earned him praise from students and colleagues alike.

At Elon Law, one technique Friedland will help research is a new residency program required of all students. The program places students during their second year of study in full-time, course-connected positions at law firms, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies that give them direct experience working in a legal environment.

Friedland also will revitalize the Center for Engaged Learning in Law, which in May will host a workshop at Elon Law on design thinking, specifically examining alternative models to the traditional legal education delivery systems. He is in the process of recruiting law professors from around the world to contribute to a blog dedicated to sharing ideas about effective teaching.

Friedland also plans to focus efforts on specific groups of law students that often encounter unique obstacles in their legal studies.

“We’re trying to create a culture of learning within a learning community,” he said.  “That includes looking at people who have obstacles to learning, such as first generation professionals who don’t have the models available to them that others may have.

“How can we design a better education and what are the real issues affecting law students that will have to be dealt with in the coming years?”

Friedland has written numerous law review articles, most recently in the areas of cybersurveillance and law school pedagogies. His articles have been published or accepted for publication in the Northwestern Law Review, the Duke Law Journal (online), Washington & Lee Law Review, and a journal at the Sorbonne. His books on evidence law, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, and law school teaching have been published by the West Publishing Company, Aspen Press, Lexis Publishing Company and Carolina Academic Press.

Friedland is an internationally known speaker on legal education issues who has worked with the Japan Legal Foundation in developing law schools in Japan and with Afghanistan law schools as part of a USAID initiative. He has lectured to thousands of students across the country preparing for the bar exam.

Friedland holds a Juris Doctor with honors from Harvard Law School, as well as a Master of Law and Doctor of the Science of Law degrees from Columbia University Law School, where he was a Dollard Fellow in Law, Medicine and Psychiatry.

Eric Townsend,
3/9/2017 8:45 AM