Legal Education Transformations: What Changes Are Here To Stay? | Association of Certified Electronic Discovery Specialists (ACEDS)


The field of education has experienced constant challenges, transformations and opportunities over the past year. Faculty and students alike have been immersed in e-learning without warning, often requiring adjustments to stay afloat and combat obstacles. Although these started as temporary solutions, elements of these changes will become permanent in education and surrounding industries.

ACEDS recently hosted an insightful panel discussion with members of ACEDS’s Global Advisory Board for Education, titled “Transitions, Transformations and Triumphs: The Educational Perspective” and moderated by Global Advisory Board Chairman Ari Kaplan and ACEDS President Mike Quartararo. The interactive conversation touched on key trends, lessons from online learning, and fundamental changes that are likely to continue. Check out the main takeaways and highlights from that conversation below.

To start the panel discussion, Kaplan asked the simple question: How have you changed your teaching style over the past year? Maura Grossman, a research professor at the University of Waterloo, has taken steps to provide a more inclusive classroom for students. Grossman has taken racial and racial issues into account, expanding her reading list to include more authors who are women, Indigenous voices, and other under-represented groups in the legal industry and beyond. Grossman also took mental health constraints into account, providing resources to students and fostering open dialogue.

Bill Hamilton, senior professor of legal skills at the University of Florida, explained how hybrid courses encourage faculty to be more engaging. Teachers had to be creative to ensure that students weren’t just spectators, both in person and online. Students have the right to find the class interesting. Asked by Kaplan about what will become permanent in the classroom, Hamilton said teachers need to find a way to incorporate an element of entertainment into their teaching.

The panel also discussed the importance of storytelling in electronic discovery. According to Hamilton, e-discovery is too often seen as a mechanical process. The goal is to tell the best story for your client, combining data and strategy. To elevate storytelling skills, seek to improve data science skills first.

George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, explored the idea that there needs to be a balance in legal education between what GETS to do and what not to do . Lawyers are trained to find a problem more often than a solution. Balance is essential in all aspects of education, and this should translate into legal education and training.

In an educational setting, examples of good and bad decisions from cases are taught. What should this ratio look like and what is the most effective learning tool for students? An audience participant expressed that there is always more interest in talking about cases of uncertainty and errors. While these are more memorable, it boils down to the idea of ​​finding problems rather than solutions in legal education. Grossman agreed that you do best when you are passionate about a subject; answers stick best when found on their own and come from a place of real interest.

A dominant theme of the panel discussion is the importance of pushing beyond comfort zones and being flexible in a career, especially at the start. The panel encouraged students to take courses purely out of interest and to challenge themselves. Years ago, legal professionals could learn a specialty and practice it throughout their careers. Now, staying flexible and open to learning new skills is essential. Mike Quartararo explored the value of legal and professional certifications, and their ability to open up new career paths. With more flexible working hours and a high demand for multi-talented professionals, now is the perfect time to develop. There are many opportunities in the market for certifications and other legal education programs to broaden skills.

“Transitions, Transformations and Triumphs: The Educational Perspective” was a panel discussion in a series of conversations hosted on the ACEDS webinar channel. An infographic of the main takeaways from the event has been created and can be found here.

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