Steven Friedland named one of the nation’s best law teachers
A new book names Elon Law Professor Steven Friedland one of the 26 “best law teachers” in the United States.
The book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013), is the culmination of a four-year study that sought to identify extraordinary law teachers. The study details the attributes and practices of professors who have a significant, positive, and long-term effect on their students.
Friedland, who has won teaching awards at three different law schools, directs the Center for Engaged Learning in the Law at Elon and writes extensively on effective teaching, including three co-edited books published by Carolina Academic Press: Techniques for Teaching Law, Techniques for Teaching Law 2 and Teaching the Law School Curriculum.
What the Best Law Teachers Do is authored by Professor Gerry Hess of Gonzaga University School of Law, Professor Sophie Sparrow of the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and Michael Hunter Schwartz, dean and professor of law at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.
To gain a deep understanding as to what makes extraordinary law teachers so effective, the authors visited each of their 26 subjects at their law schools so they could observe classroom behavior and conduct lengthy interviews with the subjects and their deans, colleagues, students and alumni.
“All of the teachers we studied are regarded as being among the most rigorous professors at their law schools who have high expectations of every student, yet they also are known for their kindness to their students,” said Hess. “They foster self-confidence in their students and inspire in them a belief that they are capable of great things. They get to know their students as people and manifest caring and respect for their students. These teachers model hard work, creativity, and humility.”
The book offers a positive perspective on legal education.
“Like nearly every profession and all forms of higher education, legal education has plenty of room for improvement,“ explained Sparrow. “But legal education also includes these 26 teachers and plenty of others like them who are inspiring role models to their students, who consciously and carefully prepare their students to practice law, who devote themselves to helping their students grow as people and as future lawyers, and who mentor their students, helping them find jobs and make career choices, even long after the students have graduated.”
As the Director of the Center for Engaged Learning in the Law at Elon Law, Friedland is planning an international conference to be held at Elon in the spring of 2014. Co-sponsored by the Alliance for Experiential Legal Education out of Northeastern University Law School, the conference will focus on how experiential learning can make law schools stronger in the years to come.
What the Best Law Teachers Do is the fourth book focusing on teaching and learning law that Schwartz, Hess and Sparrow have co-authored.