6 Reasons Why Experiential Learning Is Needed In Law Schools

Experiential learning is designed to cater to a wide variety of student learning goals. At an institutional level, it is important to assess the school’s existing curriculum.

“Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information” Albert Einstein

How do we learn new skills effectively and make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes again? Since humans have a tendency to learn from experience, it’s safe to say that we won’t know if a specific method or idea works until we experience it. This propels us to try our hands on new things, get stuck and step out of our comfort zone. Similarly, there are certain things that a lawyer can learn once they start executing it - like drafting an airtight contract or scrutinizing issues in a document. 

In today’s time, innovative teaching is extremely important in the field of law. Such an approach provides students with practical learning opportunities. Earlier, law students were confined to learning through books and theories. However, with the evolution of higher education learning, law schools are focusing on providing their students with hands-on learning experiences.  

The power of experiential education is immense and it is a methodology that sticks with the students for life. Experiential learning provides flexible and practical learning opportunities. Experiential learning is designed to cater to a wide variety of student learning goals. At an institutional level, it is important to assess the school’s existing curriculum.

Law schools are constantly trying to reshape their pedagogy in order to be fluid to the marketplace changes and prepare the budding lawyers to be ready for the global and local challenges.

Let’s see why law schools are taking strides to permeate experiential learning in their curriculum.

1. Gain valuable ‘on project’ experience: Studying law is  about applying theory in practical scenarios. Therefore, law schools have included ‘simulation’ models and ‘Moot Court’ sessions in their curriculum. These sessions help students to act upon a virtual situation and the innovative courses increase the profile for employment 

2. Study and learn on a more global scale: In today’s increasingly globalized world, legal problems now span countries and often involve regional and international treaties and laws, so it’s essential that practitioners comprehend how the global legal system works.

3. Understand the importance of real-life  experiences: Educators have understood the gap in classroom teaching. Students need to engage directly with a problem to better understand how to them.. Real-time  critical thinking skills help students connect real-world issues to the theories they learn in classes.

4. Participate actively in a dynamic environment: A law course with experiential learning will help the students to roll up their sleeves, think through a situation, make mistakes, identify the mistakes and rectify them.

5. Accelerated learning: Practising  a new skill makes a student much more effective at utilizing said skills.  experience in solving a case or drafting a contract will require problem-solving, decision making and reasoning skills and through these processes, learning accelerates thereby improving retention.

6. Opens avenues to real-time mentoring and feedback: Learning, unlearning and relearning is a crucial process. In a quest to achieve expertise, the impetus should also be on coaching the students based on the practice of real-time cases. Such cases always include a debriefing session where students receive feedback and are mentored to hone their skills.

With guided self-reflection and opportunities to be creative, law schools are preparing students to don the hat of lawyers while studying in a professional set up through role-playing or experience so that they can become lifelong professional and ethical learners of law.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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