Transactional Law Education Conference Emphasizes Practice-Ready Lawyers

November 16, 2012

Emory Law’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice sponsored the conference “Preparing the Transactional Lawyer: From Doctrine to Practice,” on Nov. 2-3. The event drew a diverse audience of 113 professors, practitioners and consultants, said the center’s co-executive director, Professor Sue Payne. Participants represented 56 law schools and seven law firms, as well as 29 U.S. states, Canada and China.

The goal was examining how to create law school graduates who are “practice-ready” for corporate and transactional practice.

Payne led the conference with a five-step plan for the continued development of transactional law and skills education. She advised educators to make themselves more visible within their own institutions and convince legal employers to hire graduates with transactional law and skills training. They should be early adopters of technology and innovative teaching tools. In addition to actively promoting transactional law and skills education, they must also assess their programs to make sure objectives are met.

Professor Carol D. Newman, the center’s co-executive director, chaired the keynote discussion with panelists Professor George W. Kuney (University of Tennessee College of Law), Dean Dennis R. Honabach (Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law), and M. Jan Connell (former general counsel and transactional law adjunct, Emory Law School). Beyond being “practice-ready,” panelists said lawyers must evolve into “trusted advisors” that transactional clients need.

Conference presenters addressed teaching topics such as risk allocation; business and financial literacy; how to read, analyze and draft contracts; and translating transactional skills to non-native English speakers.

They also discussed how law schools may integrate transactional skills instruction across the curriculum, use technology and collaborative experiential learning, and prepare lawyers for “Main Street” practice.

Tina L. Stark, the center’s founding director, and author of Drafting Contracts: How and Why Lawyers Do What They Do, was honored at a dinner with toasts from Payne, Dean Robert Schapiro, Professor William Carney, and Associate Dean James Elliott.

The center was formed in 2007, and has hosted a biennial conference on teaching transactional law and skills since 2008.The fourth biennial conference is scheduled for June 6-7, 2014.


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