Harvard University Press recently released Dean and Professor Michael Hunter Schwartz’ book, What the Best Law Teachers Do (2013).
Over the past five years, Schwartz, Gonzaga Law Professor Gerald Hess, and University of New Hampshire Law Professor Sophie Sparrow have studied extraordinary law teachers, teachers “who have a significant, positive, and long-term effect on their students.” After reviewing hundreds of candidates, they chose to focus on 26 who represent a wide array of personal, professional, and intellectual backgrounds.
Their new book is the only systematic, rigorous study of exemplary law teaching and is sure to influence teachers, students, and law schools throughout the world. As tuition at law schools continues to rise – despite a decline in the number of applications – and post-graduate jobs become increasingly competitive, receiving the highest-quality education is paramount.
The teacher holds the most important role in providing such a learning experience. The authors visited each of the subjects to observe classroom behavior and conduct lengthy interviews; they corroborated their findings by speaking with deans, colleagues, students, and alumni. After analyzing the data, they identified the practices, methods, and strategies these teachers have in common. “The results have been strikingly similar,” they write. “Across cultures and schools, the best teachers distinguish themselves by their thoughtfulness, caring about their students, high expectations, commitment to student learning, and ability to engage their students.”
The book has received attention from many law schools as well as in Inside Higher Ed.
- Patti Alleva, University of North Dakota School of Law
- Rory Bahadur, Washburn University School of Law
- Cary Bricker, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
- Roberto Corrada, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law
- Bridget Crawford, Pace University School of Law
- Meredith Duncan, University of Houston Law Center
- Beth Enos, retired, Lewis & Clark Law School
- Paula Franzese, Seton Hall University School of Law
- Steve Friedland, Elon University School of Law
- Heather Gerken, Yale Law School
- Ingrid Hillinger, Boston College Law School
- Steven Homer, University of New Mexico School of Law
- Don Hornstein, Univeristy of North Carolina School of Law
- Nancy Knauer, Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law
- Larry Krieger, Florida State University College of Law
- Susan Kuo, University of South Carolina School of Law
- Andy Leipold, University of Illinois College of Law
- Nancy Levit, UMKC School of Law
- Paula Lustbader, Seattle University School of Law
- Nelson Miller, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
- Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA School of Law
- Julie Nice, University of San Francisco School of Law
- Philip Prygoski, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
- Ruthann Robson, CUNY School of Law
- Tina Stark, Fordham University School of Law
- Andy Taslitz, American University Washington College of Law