The famed book review issue of the Michigan Law Review feels like a reminder of better days. As this issue goes to print, a shocking 554,103 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone, the country seems to have begun a long-overdue national reckoning on race, climate change and economic inequality continue to ravage the country, and our Capitol was stormed by insurrectionists with the encouragement of the president of the United States. In the usual year, a scholar would happily pick up this volume and delight in its contents. This year, one marvels at the scholars who managed to finish their reviews on time.
The editors have asked me to reflect on how 2020, particularly the pandemic, will change legal education. Like most institutions, law schools have undergone a stress test over the past year. During the early days of the pandemic, every school put a centuries-old teaching tradition online, often within the space of a single week. Most thought that the pace of change would slow down in April. It didn’t. For months, COVID generated crisis after crisis. Schools had to deal with budgetary shortfalls, a stock market crash, job losses, postponements of the bar exam, the loss of virtually all of their international students, and the terrible hardships that COVID caused for students, staff, and faculty. To top it all off, any school that—like Yale—brought its students back in the fall for in-person learning had to invent new forms of teaching for the classroom and an entirely new set of communal rules for campus interactions. Even though the pandemic has not yet lifted, one can already make out the ways in which law schools’ adaptations to the pandemic will eventually be structured into legal education’s gene sequence.
Heather K. Gerken,
Will Legal Education Change Post-2020?,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol119/iss6/2