Leading Edge is about building the future of Legal Education through collaboration, brainstorming, and innovation.
Leading Edge Conference
Aspen Publishing’s Annual Leading Edge Conference is a gathering of legal education thought leaders to discuss key issues facing legal education and to brainstorm actionable strategies. Launched in 2014 as an experiment in attendee-driven “unconferences,” Leading Edge has become a highly regarded gathering for the legal education community, with more than half of all law schools in the United States having participated.
View the topics covered at the Leading Edge conferences over the past several years. The conference agenda is set by the attendees upon their arrival at the conference.
EIGHTH ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Leading Edge 2022
After taking a year off in 2021, it was thrilling to welcome attendees in-person to the Endicott MIT House in Dedham, Massachusetts for the 8th Annual Leading Edge Conference on July 11-13, 2022. This year’s “unconference” was full of energetic brainstorming, informative discussion, and friendly networking about the present and future of legal education.
Socratic Method on Zoom
Reimagining Law School
Curriculum in 2025/Standard 303(b)&(c) and the need for collaboration
Law School Admissions without the LSAT
Alternative to the Bar Exam
After the Fall: Rebuilding Community
Law and Technology
Finding Space for Both Robust Classroom Discussion and Helpful Feedback for Students
Making Pedagogy a Priority in Legal Education
Money and Movement in Legal Education
Incorporating Writing Exercises into Doctrinal Classes
Transformations in Law School Teaching Since 2019
Potential of Test-Optional LSATs and its Effects on Admissions
Collaboration with Other Law Schools
Update on Law Student Well-Being: it is okay to not be okay
Building a Culture for Innovation and Change
Bringing Equity into Assessment and Grading
Teaching and Supporting First-Generation Students
Academic Freedom and Cancel Culture
SEVENTH ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Leading Edge 2020 – Virtual Edition
The 7th Annual Leading Edge Conference, while wholly online due to COVID-19, brought together participants from the first six Leading Edge conferences to reconnect and compare notes during a period of unprecedented change within the academy. This “reunion” was an ideal opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues from across the country to discuss best practices for online teaching, integrating DE&I in the classroom, enrollment trends, the job outlook, and more.
Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack in the Classroom
Building a Community of Inquiry
How Will COVID Impact the Law School Model?
Diversity and Inclusion Post-COVID
Class Composition and Bar Passage
Contact Tracing to BLM Monitoring: Teaching Data Law & Protecting Vulnerable Groups
Applications and Jobs--What Now?
Topics in Online Education
SIXTH ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Leading Edge 2019
The 6th Annual Leading Edge Conference once again brought together legal education thought leaders from across the country to participate in another thought provoking and inspiring “unconference” where the agenda was entirely created by the attendees upon their arrival. From July 8–10, 2019, in Riverwoods, Illinois, the attendees engaged in collective idea-sharing, informal networking, and high-energy brainstorming surrounding core questions about the present and future of legal education.
The Transformation of the Economics of the Legal Education 2010–2016
The First 100 Days: What Would You Do as a Dean? Why? How?
Clean Slate: If we could start over what would your law school look like?
You be the Dean: Reducing the Cost of Law School Ethically
Job Market Update: Much has changed
Law Graduate Debt
Reducing the Toxic Influence of the US News Ranking on Law School Operations
Developing Assessment Resources for Professional Formation Learning Outcomes
How Do We Make (Keep) Law School Relevant — legal tech? experiential learning? cross-disciplinary teachings? Or something else altogether?
Using the Spanish LSAT as an Assessment for US Law Schools
Teaching the Law from a Transactional Perspective
Diversity in Legal Education and Administration
Innovative Teaching in the Information Age/Moving Legal Education Online
Faculty Hiring: The Narrowing of the Pipeline
What Should our Libraries be Doing to Support Students and Faculty that we Aren’t Doing
Socialization Through Pervasive Inattentiveness
Can you Make Someone a Better Teacher and if so, How?
Is Free Speech on Campus a Myth?
Specialization in Legalization: Will the Market Demand an Increase?
Experiential Learning Pods and Add-ons for Non-Trial Advocacy Courses
Using Tech to Increase Access to Justice
Bar Exam Passage Rates: How Do We Improve?
How do We Incorporate Wellness and Well-Being Topics into the Law School Curriculum and Extracurricular Activities of the Law School?
Assessment for Inclusion Not Disillusion
Moving Toward Collaboration Instead of the Competition Model of Delivering Legal Education
Should Law Schools Embrace Their Role in Upholding Democracy as an Institutional Outcome
FIFTH ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Leading Edge 2018
The 5th Annual Leading Edge Conference once again brought together legal education thought leaders from across the country to participate in another tremendously successful “unconference” where the agenda was entirely created by the attendees upon their arrival. From July 9–11, 2018, in Riverwoods, Illinois, the attendees engaged in collective idea-sharing, informal networking, and high-energy brainstorming surrounding core questions about the present and future of legal education.
Reducing Cost and Increasing ROEI (Return on Educational Investment)
How to Organize a Law School Curriculum around the Delta Competency Model
Good Bye (Christopher) Columbus (Langdell): Building Better Systems and Processes for Making Lawyers
Are We Sustainable (Or is Vikram Too Optimistic)?
The Critical First Year: How Can We Effectively Educate Today’s Students About All the Things We Want Them to Take Away from Their First Year?
Re-Examining Bar Review
Competitive Coping Strategies in the American Legal Academy
How Do We Design Transformational Experiences?
Younger, Older, and In-Between: Undergraduate Legal Education and Beyond in the Era of AI and High Cost Education
Experiential Methods and Intellectual Versatility
Roundtable: Less Resources and More Unprepared Students—What to Do?
The Science of Learning as Applied to Law School
Incubators and Not-for-Profit Firms: Promoting Access to Justice and Facilitating Graduate Training
A Discussion about Motivating Change
New Algorithms in Legal Practice Tech (AI, Blockchain Tech, etc.)
Over/Under: How Many Law Schools Will There Be by 2030?
Legal Analysis—The Fundamental Skill: What Is It? How Can We Better Teach It?
Using Data Analysis to Customize Legal Education to Make It More Accessible and Increase Return on Investment
Lawyers and Clients Dealing with Identity Threat (Microaggression, Stereotype Threat)
Using and Improving Digital Textbooks
Design-Thinking for Legal Problem Solving
What Are Transactional Practice Core Competencies and How Should We Teach Them?
Teaching and Developing Leadership in the Law School
A Dialogue about the Changing Demographics in Law School—Implications for Leadership Development
FOURTH ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Leading Edge 2017
Building on the prior success of the first three Leading Edge Conferences, the 4th Annual Leading Edge Conference brought together legal education thought leaders from across the country to discuss challenges and opportunities for law schools, faculty, and students. Held on July 10-12, 2017 in our Riverwoods, Illinois, complex, this “unconference” where the agenda is entirely driven by the attendees, covered these topics:
Law Faculty Professional Development in the Age of Assessment Creativity and other Higher Order Skills
The Role of Online and Hybrid Learning Environments on the Future of Legal Education in the Near and Long Term
What Do 1Ls Need to Know and How Do We Teach Them?
Are We Talking Past Our Students; Are We Not on the Same Page?
Lawyers as Leaders
Law Faculty Professional Development in the Age of Assessment
Changing the Culture
Cyber, Privacy, Internet ... Call It What You Will... Students Need to Know It
10 Ways to Assure that Law School Remains/Becomes Relevant
The Ethics of Poaching
Diversity and the First Year Curriculum
Women Leaving the Law – Not Our Problem?
Law Professor as Story Teller
Google is Not the Answer
Data, Management, Marketing, and Outcomes – Science or Religion?
Disrupting Law School: Let’s Consider Non-Consumption in Legal Ed and Legal Services
Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape
Do Law Schools Have a Responsibility to Teach Social Justice?
Do We Want to Break Free of the ABA and/or US News?
Expanding the Geographic and Substantive Reach of the Law School
Setting into the New Normal: The Job Market for New Law Graduates Today and What that Means for the Legal Academy Tomorrow
Should Student Tuition $$ Subsidize Faculty Scholarship?
THIRD ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Third Annual Faculty Leading Edge Conference
Building on the prior success of the first two Leading Edge Conferences, the 3rd Annual Leading Edge Conference brought together 32 legal education thought leaders nationwide to discuss challenging issues facing legal education today and to brainstorm ways to address and overcome these challenges. Held on July 11-13, 2016 in our Riverwoods, Illinois, complex, this “unconference” where the agenda is entirely driven by the attendees, addressed these challenges:
Structuring Bloom’s Taxonomy for legal education
Ultimate death match: Boomers vs. Millennials in a law school environment
What 1 or 2 skills, activities, experiences, or courses, would you like to see made more available (or perhaps even required) and when?
Law students as future entrepreneurs
The $10K JD
Brainstorm! On improving entry-level employment outcomes (Or, Adventures in Alliteration)
Assumptions/pre-conceived notions that faculty and students bring to legal education
The future of the law school within the university
How do we prepare future lawmakers and policy makers through legal education
Keeping legal education valuable: how to get here from there
What role does the bar exam play?
Continued—defense of scholarship BUT focus on what it is and how to measure
Personal autonomy and professionalism (law school as profession or liberal art education)
Meaning of practical legal education
Developing professional judgment and forming professional identity
Changes in the legal profession—looking back, looking forward 25 years
I’m 55 and tenured. What now?
Are we yeaching students to play hockey when we should be preparing them for Disney on Ice?
Pointing the finger: Unprepared Students vs. Unprepared Law Schools
The future of law meets
Learning outcomes and assessments measures
Entrepreneurship across the arc of lawyering: professoring, learning, lawyering, and lawyering for entrepreneurs
How do we attract the best and brightest to go to law school (as well as diverse candidates)?
SECOND ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
Second Annual Faculty Leading Edge Conference
Twenty-five leading innovators in legal education came together at the cabin in our Riverwoods complex to discuss challenges in legal education and collaborate to develop solutions. Building on the success of the first annual Leading Edge conference (see below), this second edition added innovators and entrepreneurs from the business side of legal education to the law school professors and deans that constitute the conference’s core attendees.
Changing demographics and bar passage realities
What should the 2nd and 3rd year of law school look like?
A modest proposal for the decriminalization of the part-time practice of law by tenure track faculty
What might law schools learn from design thinking and the Stanford Design School
Assumptions made by students and faculty in law school
Designing post-law school “incubator” programs to bridge graduates to low-bono small/solo practice
Kickstarts, Bootcamps, and other bridge programs: Preparing underprepared students for law school
What do we know about undergraduate teaching and learning? Do we care? Should we care?
Why experiential education? Exploring the conventional justifications and what they imply for all concerned
Globalization and legal education overhyped? How impactful? Underappreciated?
Demonstrating behavioral economics in reading and comprehension
Can a law school be a graduate school—revenue degrees and mission
Better student/faculty meeting: Promoting autonomy, mastery and purpose in law students
How to deal with difficult students?
Should law schools be teaching for mastery?
Law student survey: Mental health issues and the culture in law school.
Managing change in the law school landscape
FIRST ANNUAL FACULTY LEADING EDGE CONFERENCE
First Annual Faculty Leading Edge Conference
Wolters Kluwer Legal Education invited 25 of the most well respected thought-leaders and innovators in legal education to attend the first annual WK Leading Edge conference and participate in three days of collaborative discussion and debate around the state of legal education.
As an “unconference,” the event did not have an agenda until participants collaboratively designed one the first evening. This format was intended to facilitate open conversation and ensure that session time was focused around issues of genuine import for attendees. Attendees created 21 high-impact sessions all revolving around how law schools should turn today’s students into successful legal thinkers and practitioners.
MOOC-Mania: How technology enhanced education is changing the face of higher education
Dealing with faculty status issues during times of economic crisis
Changing how we assess students
What is legal ed for? What is its purpose? Who should be given it? Is it all about lawyering?
What law schools can learn from architecture schools (the studio, the "crit," and more)
The changing market for entry level employment for law graduates and its implications for the academy
Gender in the Legal Academy
The (somewhat dismal but not necessarily as bad as some say) state of legal education
What makes a good casebook/coursebook (or do we need them at all?)
Teaching millennials from the 19-century law curriculum and assessing them, OR NOT
Unbundling legal education: Should we open our doors to non-JD seekers? Should we increase advocacy to end monopoly on practice and allow non-lawyer assistance? What are the essential elements for a JD?
How will changing demographics of law students impact law schools and the legal profession?
Teaching "soft" skills in "hard" classes
What the rest of the university can learn from the law school experience
The big picture—7 observations about legal education
How mindset can promote change in legal education
Solving the access to justice problem by reforming legal education
The changing legal academy: Does one size fit all?
Regulation with or without the ABA: Knowing your enemy
Any impact of internationalization/globalization? Are we missing the boat? Or does it not matter?
Law school degrees: NOT a JD or even a LL.M.
21st century classrooms—Designing spaces for active learning/flipped teaching
Students as reluctant to see change: How to deal with this reluctance? Why is it happening?
How should law schools be "forming" professional identity in a changing market