Tulane Law School, a pioneer in clinical education and the nation’s first law school to require pro bono service for graduation, is poised to lead again in teaching lawyering skills.
This summer, the program undergoes significant reorganization, drawing pro bono, legal clinics and other training opportunities under a single umbrella to further strengthen new graduates’ preparation for practice.
Stacy Seicshnaydre (L ’92), director of the Tulane Civil Litigation Clinic since 2004 and a professor whose fair-housing scholarship has influenced state and national policy, will lead the restructured program as associate dean of experiential learning and public interest programs.
Tulane Law’s first clinic and trial advocacy program started in 1979, and skills training has grown into a variety of clinics, pro bono options, volunteer internships and for-credit externships, including a new corporate-counsel externship program, an innovative partnership with Valero Energy focusing on environmental compliance and an array of simulation courses.
Experiential learning had been led by assistant dean Jim Letten (L ’79), who recently joined the Butler Snow law firm, and director Jane Johnson (L ’74), who is retiring after 37 years in legal education. Externships and pro bono had been led by assistant dean Julie Jackson and program director Eileen Ryan, both of whom are retiring.
Seicshnaydre said the reorganization provides an opportunity to integrate engaged-learning offerings in ways that maximize the benefit to students.
“A skills program should not just be a cafeteria-style program where people are making menu selections without thinking about how one course can lay the foundation for another course,” she said.
“This is about bringing into balance two essential aspects of legal education, which include a more traditional focus on theory and doctrine and bringing that theory and doctrine to life in the context of a real client.”