20 July 2013

ARTICLE: Mahasned and Critchlow on Jordanian Legal Education

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Nisreen Mahasned and George Critchlow, "A Dialogue on Jordanian Legal Education" Free Downloadhas been published on SSRN:

This is a readable article about the need for legal education reform in Jordan. It grew out of the experiences, discussions, and shared interests of the co-authors – a Jordanian female law professor and an American male law professor who have worked with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and Jordanian law faculties to develop strategies for strengthening legal education in Jordan. The article is unusual in that it is presented as a dialogue in order to identify and reflect the authors’ different professional and cultural perspectives. The text is supported by citation to authority in conventional footnotes. 

Jordan’s system of legal education is challenged by the need to produce lawyers who have the knowledge and skills necessary to represent clients in traditional settings and to meet the demands of modern transnational commerce, democratization, and the rule of law, including human rights law. The traditional mode of learning in most Jordanian law classes is passive. The article describes and discusses learning theory that emphasizes the need for students to be engaged in a variety of interactive learning experiences. The concept of separating theory and practice (which underpins the traditional Jordanian legal education model) is addressed by reference to critiques of legal education in the United States. The article argues for more integration of theory and practice as a means of fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It concludes with concrete recommendations that Jordanian (and other) law professors might find useful for introducing more integrated, active learning experiences into their classrooms. 

While the article is about Jordanian legal education, it has obvious relevance for educators who operate in similar models of legal education throughout the Arab world. It also provides a readable summary of learning theory and teaching strategies for law teachers everywhere. 

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