Entrevista: Manuel Fontaine Campos, por Impact Lawyers
What are the main differences between the teaching methods used in law studies at the leading universities in the world that you know of?
I would say the main differences are between the teaching methods used in European law schools and those used in American law schools. While the former used fundamentally the lecture method (alternated with the resolution of case studies), the latter use essentially the Socratic method and Legal Clinics. The difference is also explained by the circumstance that in Europe law is an undergraduate program, while in the US it is offered at a postgraduate level. But the most innovative law schools in Europe are focused on introducing a plurality of teaching methods in their undergraduate law programs, including the Socratic method, the service-learning method, the flipped-classroom method, Legal Clinics…. On the other hand, they should also invest in blended learning, not only as a temporary response to the pandemic but as a permanent feature of teaching delivery.
In view of the ongoing legal transformation, do you think that different subjects should be taught, such as management, business management or technological skills?
Absolutely. There is an old saying according to which “The lawyer that only knows the law doesn’t even know the law”. The law is applicable to a multiplicity of social areas and students should get in contact with a plurality of scientific discourses, mainly social sciences but also technical sciences, to correctly interpretate the law. On the other hand, law Schools should allow students to acquire a set of soft skills that will foster their professional performance, by offering non legal courses directed at that acquisition.