Post Written by Lindsey Blanchard
Welcome to the new school year and to McGeorge School of Law’s new Global Lawyering Skills Blog! In addition to the activities that accompany the beginning of every school year—meeting incoming students, talking to former students about their summer experiences, creating legal writing problems, and figuring out why the lights won’t work in your classroom—we hope you will add perusing our blog to your agenda!
McGeorge has a two-year legal research and writing program—Global Lawyering Skills (GLS)—that is designed to produce skilled, practice-ready graduates. We provide students with numerous hands-on learning opportunities tied to research, writing, oral advocacy, and a variety of other lawyering skills, with both a national and transnational perspective. And, we love what we do! So, the idea for this blog is to create a forum for discussing all things legal writing-related, and to connect with others who share our passion.
In this inaugural post, the McGeorge GLS faculty would like to share an exciting piece of news—the appointment of our Director of Global Lawyering Skills, Mary-Beth Moylan, as Associate Dean for Experiential Learning. If you’re wondering what, exactly, that means, you’re not alone. After reading the very lengthy job description, I had the same question. So, I asked Mary-Beth to tell me about her new position, now that she is eight weeks in.
While it turns out that Mary-Beth is not actually running the world, as her job description would suggest, she comes pretty close. In addition to her duties as Director of Global Lawyering Skills, Mary-Beth will now coordinate and facilitate McGeorge’s entire pool of practical skills education. In other words, she will cultivate the links between our first- and second-year Global Lawyering Skills courses; our first-year professional identity and career exploration course (The Legal Profession); our clinics, externships, and capstone experiential courses; and our mock trial and moot court competition teams to ensure that McGeorge students experience an integrated experiential curriculum.
I wondered what—given such a tall order—Mary-Beth’s greatest challenges have been so far. Not surprisingly, as with any endeavor to achieve organization-wide integration, the answer was two-fold: first, finding the time to get up to speed on all of the different things going on in the courses and programs with which she was not previously intimately involved; and, second, breaking down the silos housing those courses and programs in order to build communication channels. That being said, overcoming those challenges will lead to what Mary-Beth perceives to be the biggest benefit to the school and the students—a cohesive program of experiential learning with a clear scaffolding of skills to support the students’ careers. According to Mary-Beth, her ultimate goal is for our students “to have the skills they need to pursue law-related careers in our community and beyond.”
But, the school and the students are not the only groups who will benefit from Mary-Beth’s new position. Mary-Beth believes that there is always more we can do for our community, and she is particularly excited about the opportunity to systematize and increase the students’ pro bono efforts.
We will report back on the (hopefully all) triumphs and (hopefully few) tribulations as Mary-Beth forges on. In the meantime, we would like to hear about the duties, goals, and challenges of people with similar positions at other institutions. If you are interested in sharing your experiences, please send us an email!
Coming soon . . . Adrienne’s trip to Moscow!