Deliberate Practice Program
Associate Professor Hillary Wandler
Deliberate Practice Program, Foundational Goals
Transformational, not remedial. The Deliberate Practice Program recognizes that law students come here with diverse cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds, and seeks to transform all UM law students into self-directed lifelong learners.
Accessible and optional, yet individualized and targeted. The Deliberate Practice Program seeks to make resources both accessible to all and optional, which will require students to take initiative and commit to improvement, an important step toward promoting student autonomy and thus students’ motivation to learn. However, this program also recognizes that some students will struggle with the traditional law school curriculum and instructional approach, and so seeks to remain informed of patterns in our school’s student body that reveal potential predictors of a student’s difficulty with traditional legal education, and to offer that student individualized and confidential resources.
Integrated, not isolated. Recognizing that the traditional law school schedule and workload already threaten to throw law students’ everyday lives out of balance, this program seeks to minimize additional scheduling burdens by integrating skills instruction with existing class time and workload and making extra-class instruction available online so individual students can access the material when they are learning ready.
- Emphasize intrinsic motivation.
- Encourage students to keep their first client in mind when learning all skills—this is their purpose
- Encourage students to approach learning intentionally to develop a mastery of the learning process, and so a mastery of legal analysis
- Encourage students to recognize the autonomy inherent in professional school and develop an individual approach that will help them reach their professional goals
- Promote exploration of new and varied teaching methods informed by learning styles, multiple intelligences, and innovations in adult learning theory.
- Promote broad participation in skills instruction during students’ first year.
- Promote deliberate development of stronger analytical skills.