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Michael Bossone

LawWithoutWalls – Coolest Law School Program Ever

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When I heard about LawWithoutWalls, my first question was, “Where was this when I was in law school?” This is the most unique academic experience I’ve heard of in a law school environment. It takes students from 12 law schools from all over the world and puts them into teams guided by an Academic Mentor, a Practitioner Mentor, a Subject Expert Advisor, an Entrepreneur Advisor, and an Alumni Advisor to identify and propose a solution to a problem affecting the way law is taught and practiced. At the end of the semester, each team presents their findings at “ConPosium,” where they were judged by a panel of experts in law, business, and entrepreneurship.

How cool is that?

We live in a world where our community is no longer defined by where we live, but with who we are connected, and yet the law is still constricted by state and national boundaries. LawWithoutWalls embraces technology and innovation to take a multicultural and multidisciplinary approach to the practice of law in a global economy. It questions age-old traditions and encourages students to be more creative and entrepreneurial. It teaches students that the practice of law needs to focus on providing a valuable service and running an effective business.

The program currently includes students from Fordham Law, Harvard Law, IE Business School (Spain), Indiana University School of Law, Miami Law, New York Law School, Peking University School of Transnational Law (China), Stanford Law School, Sydney Law School (Australia), Universidad de Los Andes Facultad de Derecho (Colombia), University College London Laws (England), and University of St. Gallen Law School (Switzerland). Everyone in the program participates in a weekly videoconference using Adobe Connect. This must be a crazy endeavor to coordinate schedules across that many time zones.

This collaborative academic experience was created by Michele DeStefano and Michael Bossone at the University of Miami School of Law and launched in January 2011. They are preparing to kick off the program’s second year this month in Switzerland. This year’s topics include publicly held law firms, ever-increasing law school debt, the role of women in the law, and creating the 21st century career services model.

I met Michael Bossone when he was an assistant dean at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. His entire job there was to meet with students to help them have the law school experience that will prepare them for their desired legal careers. He’s been listening to what law students want for over decade and co-created this program with Michele to fill a void in legal education. He will be presenting LawWithoutWalls at the American Association of Law Schools annual conference in Washington, DC this month.

LawWithoutWalls has garnered national media attention, including Time Magazine, and won a 2011 InnovAction Award from the College of Law Practice Management.

I am excited to see what comes out of this program. Through LawWithoutWalls, these innovative students and professionals will continue to push the envelope of legal education. Hopefully this program will inspire other academics to give up the traditional legal pedagogy and to take more risks and create the types of educational experiences that students want and need.

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ASU Law Awesome Awards

I have been lucky to have some amazing professors during my time at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  With graduation approaching, I polled my classmates and asked them which professors deserved awards for their excellence in teaching or dedication to students.  These are the results:

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Best In-class Quotes: Andy Hessick
I took a class from him two years ago, and I still remember, “When someone cuts off your face, you don’t get your face back. You get money. It’s a substitute.”

Best Open Door Policy: Chad Noreuil
I don’t know how many times I popped by his office hours to vent, get advice, and re-gain some perspective on life.  He always said that he was there for his students, and you knew he meant it.

Best Comedian: Doug Sylvester
He explained concepts brilliantly and he always did it in a way that made me laugh.

Best Heart-to-Heart Talks: Judy Stinson
She is the best person to talk when you need a conversation about law school or life without the professor-student relationship getting in the way of her awesome advice.

Best Rants: Michael Berch
You never knew what he would say next.  Every class was a jaw-dropping performance.

Best Professor for Showing Students the Big Picture: Bob Clinton
Taking his classes hurts your head because you have to understand the historical and social issues that correspond to the legal issues in each case.  It makes his classes challenging, but you get more out of them.

Most Dedicated to the Student Experience: Shelli Soto
She is devoted to helping students make the best of their experience at law school & celebrates the student perspective.

Most Knowledgeable: Tom Williams
The man knows everything about everything from policies to professors.  He’s also the best person to sit next to at an event because he knows Berman’s speeches so he’ll know when they’ll be over.

Biggest Heart: Charles Calleros
It only takes one conversation with him to know how dedicated he is to his students.

Awesome Adjuncts: Larry Cohen, Troy Foster, Andy Halaby, Bill Richards, & Anne Tiffen
These professors are known for their incredible knowledge base and for providing a valuable real-world element to their courses.

Most Dedicated to Helping Students Achieve their Dreams: Michael Bossone
When I was a 1L, his entire job was helping students achieve their dreams.  Even after he left the law school, he was always there when we needed his encouragement or guidance.

Honorable Mentions: John Becker, Marianne Alcorn, Chuck Dallyn, Amy Langenfeld, & Mary Sigler

Thank you all for you energy and dedication to the graduating class of 2011!

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