An op-ed written by School of Law dean Deanell Reece Tacha was published in the Tuesday, Nov. 29, edition of the Daily Journal. In it, Tacha contests the doubt surrounding the effectiveness of higher education.
In "Legal Education's Role in Training Lawyers," Tacha writes that the particular challenge is the effect that such claims have on students of higher education who "strive to balance their professional calling with their role as intellectual participants in the university's well-being and the expansion of the world's knowledge base."
Tacha poses an alternate question to skeptics by probing "whether the modern law school is equipping lawyers to effectively model the rule of law at work in our society." She acknowledges the need for law students to develop practice-ready skills, yet insists there is a higher demand for "problem-solvers, counselors, analyzers, civil debaters, professionals who understand history, context, and the need to bring this knowledge to bear on creative dispute resolution and solutions to today's complex economic and social issues."
Tacha continues on to answer the age-old question of whether higher education provides a substantial balance between applied and theoretical teachings. More specifically, she praises contemporary law programs, such as the global justice program at Pepperdine, for providing flourishing clinical opportunities where "the doctrinal meets the practical."
Finally, Tacha emphasizes the "richer endeavor" of higher education, specifically law school, which is to provide effective training to "lawyers who will model the rule of law for this nation and the world."
Tacha is the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the School of Law and Professor of Law. She has been a circuit judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, since January 1986 and served as chief judge from January 2001 through 2007.