National Jurist names Peggy Cooper Davis one of three most influential people in legal education

National Jurist has named Peggy Cooper Davis, the John S.R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics and the director of the Lawyering Program, as one of the three most influential people in legal education.

The publication surveyed legal professionals, including deans and association presidents, to come up with three people who have influenced legal education in a way that continues to benefit current and future law students.

Under Davis’ leadership, the Law School’s Lawyering Program provides first-year students the opportunity to execute a legal strategy by drafting documents, interviewing witnesses and clients, and engaging in negotiation, mediation, and litigation.

“I think that what we need to do more of in legal education is to say we need to spend more time developing the many kinds of skills and intelligences for necessary practice,” Davis told the magazine. “And I’m of the belief that professional education has to become multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted to keep up.”

In the last few years, Davis has begun to develop a colloquium that has a clinical component with a focus on juvenile justice, designed to broaden the range of expertise of legal professionals.

As students become more pragmatic and realistic about what law is and how it is formulated and used, Davis and her colleagues are studying more realistic approaches.

“I hope that demystifies the process for students, so they won’t be as I was, searching for a logic for all the answers, but understand that as they become legal professionals they become the authors,” Davis told the magazine.

National Jurist also honored Frederick Schauer, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School, and David Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern University Law School, as the most influential people in legal education.

Posted on February 6, 2009