Dean Berman Shares Thoughts on the Law School
In recent months, concerns have been raised anew that law schools do not sufficiently train law students for the "real world." Whatever the merits of this argument in the abstract, I believe these concerns are less applicable to GW than to any other top law school. Indeed, part of the reason I was attracted to the deanship here is that GW is so committed to engagement in the real world of law and policy practice. Such engagement will only increase over the coming years. Indeed, since I became Dean at GW Law in July 2011, we have launched many new initiatives focused on building bridges between legal education and practice, including: a comprehensive practice-based mentoring program; increased professional development training in areas such as client development, networking, and the economics of practice; perhaps the most extensive externship program in the country, providing students with the opportunity to learn by doing; expanded capstone experiences in clinical, pro bono, and public policy practice; and encouraging policy-relevant scholarship and faculty engagement in law reform both in the United States and internationally. These and other curricular innovations teach and demonstrate law in action, not as an abstraction, and they allow us to continue to serve a changing profession. Indeed, GW graduates already engaged in practice have helped to inspire and refine these initiatives, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and others in the profession to ensure that our law students receive a relevant and empowering education.