You Really Should Know About Kris Franklin

Kris Franklin is a kindred spirit to folks in our community.  I hadn’t heard of her until I was wowed by her conversation with Peter Philips, which you can see in this 42-minute video.

She’s a professor at New York Law School and here’s an excerpt from her webpage:

An academic innovator, Kris Franklin brings a talent for creative and unconventional thinking to her teaching and her leadership of New York Law School’s Academic Initiatives.

Professor Franklin is an expert in legal pedagogy and experiential learning and a national leader in the field of academic preparedness.  She is frequently asked to lead workshops for other law faculty, and has served as President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Sections on Teaching Methods and on Academic Support.  She is the founder of the New York Academic Support Workshop series and the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE).  She also co-directs NYLS’s Initiative for Excellence in Law Teaching (IELT).

At NYLS, Professor Franklin teaches Contracts to first-year students and leads the School’s program in Advanced Legal Methods.  For upper-level law students, she offers experiential learning courses that include a groundbreaking Family Law in Practice simulation course and a class in Negotiating, Counseling, and Interviewing.  Additionally, Professor Franklin established and she supervises NYLS’s award-winning Dispute Resolution Team.

I know that this is a crummy time to add anything to your schedule considering that this is the home stretch of an especially stressful semester.  But when you feel like taking a break from work, you might watch the video.

Kris shares values of folks in our community and describes her impressive teaching in the video.  We believe in the value of simulations (including multi-stage simulations), which can be valuable in teaching legal doctrine.  Her Family Law in Practice course teaches all the family law doctrine covered in traditional family law courses but she does it exclusively through simulations.

She teaches Negotiating, Counseling, and Interviewing, which she says really should be called “Client Representation and Case Handling.”  This is similar to my idea for a Strategic Case Evaluation and Management course – except that she actually teaches it.

She argues that we should teach students to have “radical empathy” and help clients solve their own problems.

She believes that dispute resolution ideas and techniques should be incorporated in a wide variety of law school courses.  This is very consistent with my article with Jean Sternlight, The Potential Contribution of ADR to an Integrated Curriculum: Preparing Law Students for Real World Lawyering, and the Legal Education, ADR, and Practical Problem-Solving (LEAPS) Project, which many of us worked on.

Peter mentioned my suggestion that we call law school Negotiation School and she suggested that it should be “legal problem-solving school,” which I think is even better.

What really wowed me was Kris’s infectious spirit, which you can’t get from reading written words.  You really have to watch the video.  So do yourself a favor and watch the video when you’re in a mood to be inspired.

I also want to plug Peter’s Wednesday lunch-time conversation series.  He is a superb interviewer, and he gets a wide variety of great people to give valuable insights.  The next two conversations are with CPR President and CEO Allen Waxman (Nov. 18) and Lainey Feingold, author of Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits (Dec. 2).  You can watch past conversations by clicking on “video archives” at the bottom of the page.

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