Scorecard of practical readiness       

Chicago-Kent College of Law recently announced its concept for a practice-ready approach to law school. This program, named “Praxis,” is for students who want to “fully embrace” an experienced-based course of study.

The feature of the Praxis program most fascinating to me is the “scorecard” students must complete each semester of the program. It’s a list of 12 practice competencies grouped into four major categories:

  1. initial case development
  2. written and oral communication
  3. case and project management
  4. practice management and professionalism

You can see the scorecard here.

The idea is that students have to reflect on their progress toward gaining these 12 competencies as they move forward in the program, completing various classes and a mandatory live-client clinic.

Listening comes up directly and indirectly throughout the scorecard:

  • Initial case development requires a professional and thorough client interview. The law student needs to “[u]nderstand the client’s perceived problems, objectives, resources, and limitations.”
  • Initial case development also requires collecting evidence including testimony from others.
  • Problem-solving requires identifying the client’s legal and practical problems.
  • Trial work requires examining witnesses effectively.
  • Negotiation skills require empathy and active listening to understand the parties’ objective goals and try to find solutions that will meet them.
  • Effective collaboration and teamwork requires seeking clarification when needed. It also requires treating all co-workers with respect.
  • Client service requires “[r]esponsive, effective, prompt, and respectful oral and written communications” with clients. It also requires the law student to be able to “[p]rovide advice and predictions where appropriate, but avoid imposing [the law student’s] own values.”
  • Client development requires meeting new people and making connections.

The items on this list aren’t surprising, but it’s nice to see them collected in this way and used directly with students to help them track their own learning and development.

Hat tip to Scott Fruehwald, who described the Praxis Program here on the Legal Skills Prof Blog.

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