Skip to content

Client-Centered Legal Education and Licensing

By Deborah Jones Merritt. Full Text.

Clients are central to law practice, yet they play a limited role in both legal education and licensing. This article challenges legal educators and bar examiners to become more client-centered. The article draws upon empirical data demonstrating the importance of client-related, hands-on skills in law practice, and then outlines innovative approaches to licensing that would assess those skills alongside other foundational knowledge and skills. If adopted, these innovative licensing paths would treat aspiring lawyers fairly, encourage law schools to focus more heavily on client-related skills, and protect the public more effectively than written bar exams.