Elon engages Leading Edge conference on legal education

Elon Law student Joshua Bonney and alumnus Andrew Realon were part of a national conference examining change in legal education sponsored by Wolters Kluwer. 

Elon Law student Joshua Bonney (left), a member of the Class of 2016, and Elon Law alumnus Andrew Realon L'14, participated in the Wolters Kluwer Leading Edge conference on legal education in November 2014.  
The November 14-16 conference in Dedham, Mass., featured approximately twenty law students from across the country, nominated by faculty members, then interviewed and selected for participation by the publishing company Wolters Kluwer. Bonney and Realon were nominated by Elon Law Professor Howard Katz, who participated in the inaugural Leading Edge conference earlier in 2014 that featured thought-leaders and innovators in legal education.

Topics covered at the conference included the disconnect in traditional law school curriculums between skills needed and skills taught, technology in legal education and general law school pedagogy.

Realon led two sessions at the conference: “Choosing to take ‘Bar Classes’ in Lieu of Electives: Good Strategy or Pitfall?” and “Back to School: Education Programs that Complement the J.D.”

Bonney led a session called, “Reconstructing the Current Model: Are Law Schools Teaching Us What We Need to Succeed in Today’s Job Market?”

“Students widely agreed that gaining doctrinal legal knowledge is but a piece of what they consider a proper legal education in the context of future employment,” Bonney said. “Students identified ‘soft skills’ influencing socio-cultural workplace dynamics, as a primary yet underrepresented skill set taught in legal institutions. Equally important to substantive legal proficiency is a comprehensive understanding of cultural practices particular to certain legal entities. To foster exposure to such practices, students expressed great desire for more clinical and experiential programs tailored to their practice areas, which will afford them firsthand acquaintance to the day-to-day workings of their future entities of employment.”

“I am very glad I attended the conference because it gave me the opportunity to learn about some of the challenges other law schools (and students) are facing,” Realon said. “Collectively, we were able to do more than just identify issues in legal education; we actively brainstormed measures we could put into place.”

In 2014, continuing its leadership role in legal education innovation, Elon Law announced a groundbreaking new curriculum. Learn more here.