I recently uploaded a draft of my paper The Virtual Law School, 2.0 to SSRN. (It will need a little updating in light of the development of vaccines for COVID.) Here’s the abstract and table of contents:
Just over twenty years ago I gave a talk to the AALS called The Virtual Law School? Or, How the Internet Will De-skill the Professoriate, and Turn Your Law School Into a Conference Center. I came to the subject because I had been working on Internet law, learning about virtual worlds and e-commerce, and about the power of one-to-many communications. It seemed to me that a lot of what I had learned applied to education in general and to legal education in particular.
It didn’t happen. Or at least, it has not happened yet. In this essay I want to revisit my predictions from twenty years ago in order to see why so little has changed (so far). The massive convulsion now being forced on law teaching due to the social distancing required to prevent COVID-19 transmission presents an occasion in which we are all forced to rethink how we deliver law teaching. After discussing why my predictions failed to manifest before 2020, I will argue that unless this pandemic is brought under control quickly, the market for legal education may force some radical changes on us—whether we like it or not, and that in the main my earlier predictions were not wrong, just premature.
- That Was Then (Virtual Law School 1.0)
- Why We Do Not Have Serious Virtual Law Schools (Yet)
- ABA Rules
- Bad Software
- Concerns About Bad Pedagogy and Lost Opportunities for Skills Training and Networking
- Reputational and Branding Concerns
- Bad Economics
- Law Teaching in a Time of COVID
- The Old is New Again
- Spring’s Scrambling: Opening the Door to Online Learning
- ABA (and ICE) Actions
- Law School Actions
- Student and Other Reactions
- The Longer Term: Teaching in the ‘New Normal’
- COVID-19 Scenarios
- What the Scenarios Mean for the Virtual Law School
- Conclusion: Winners and Losers, 2.0
This a true draft, not a finished product, and I would very much welcome any comments readers might have.