Consider Cooking Up Stone Soup in the Fall – Especially in Clinical and Externship Courses

During the summer, faculty plan their courses for the fall.

This is a good time to consider including Stone Soup assignments in your courses, especially clinical and externship courses.

Faculty who used Stone Soup assignments found that they and their students almost invariably were very enthusiastic, feeling that this was a valuable contribution to students’ learning.

This year, you might assign students to ask about the new normal related to the coronavirus crisis and people’s expectations for the future.  You could assign students to focus on the same issues as in prior years instead of or in addition to questions about recent changes.

Stone Soup assignments may be particularly valuable in clinical and externship courses.  The crisis now is going in the wrong direction, rapidly getting worse, so it is quite plausible that students will have fewer clinical and externship opportunities in the fall than the old normal.  Faculty could assign students to do one or more interviews of practitioners and/or parties.  Obviously, this isn’t the same or presumably as good as old-normal activities, but it provides opportunities for students to engage with people involved with real cases.

Most students and practitioners are proficient using video technology, so students could easily conduct video interviews.

There is a value to having students conduct interviews by the middle of the semester as they may know enough to ask decent questions – and you (and they) can apply the insights from the interviews during the rest of the course.  Brian Farkas has even assigned students to do interviews fairly early in a semester, with great success.

This blog post collects a complete set of resources for one-stop shopping.  This includes:

  • a table identifying characteristics of Stone Soup assignments
  • faculty assessments of their Stone Soup experiences
  • key advice based on faculty’s experiences
  • specific suggestions based on faculty assessments
  • a complete set of documents to help you plan a Stone Soup assignment
  • questions students could ask about preparation for negotiation or mediation
  • how faculty could use Stone Soup assignments in first-year law school courses
  • how faculty could use Stone Soup assignments in second- and third-year courses
  • exemplary papers from five negotiation, three trusts and estates, and three evidence courses

This is going to be a challenging year.  Good luck everyone.

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