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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Evolution and Innovation in Legal Education

luncheon colloquium

Legal Education Banner

Vincent Rougeau
Boston College

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Time: 12 - 1:15pm
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road

RSVP Required. Click here to register.


Abstract: Over the last decade, legal education has gone through one of its most significant adjustments in decades.  After experiencing a major decline in applications from 2011-2016, law schools began making adjustments to their curricula to offer more experiential learning and more opportunities for students to develop business skills. In addition, the legal academy and the legal profession are working more closely to promote law as a career and, in particular, to increase diversity within the profession. Finally, law schools that are parts of universities are looking at new ways to create interdisciplinary partnerships, cross-disciplinary programs, and opportunities to engage undergraduates.  


headshot of Vincent Rougeau

Vincent Rougeau became dean of Boston College Law School in July of 2011. He previously served as a professor of law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Notre Dame. Rougeau was recently named Association of American Law Schools (AALS) President-elect.

A vocal advocate for change in legal education, Rougeau has led a reorganization in leadership structure at the law school that supports a more holistic approach to student services, expands the school’s national and international recruitment of a diverse student body, and enhances the School’s commitment to experiential learning and global engagement. BC Law’s new Center for Experiential Learning brings all the school’s hands-on training programs under one roof, while the Global Practice Program builds on the school’s longstanding presence in Europe by launching new opportunities for students in Dublin, Germany, Chile, France and other locations around the globe.

An expert in Catholic social thought, Rougeau’s current research and writing consider the relationship between religious identity and citizenship and membership in highly mobile and increasingly multicultural democratic societies. He serves as Senior Fellow at the Centre for Theology and Community in London, where he researches broad-based community organizing, migration and citizenship in the United Kingdom as part of the Just Communities Project.

Rougeau has served as a member of the Executive Committee of AALS, as chair of the AALS Deans Steering Committee, and on the Council of the Boston Bar Association. His teaching interests are in contract and real estate law, as well as in law and religion. Before entering the academy, he practiced law at the Washington, DC office of Morrison & Foerster from 1988-1991. 

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As Aebra Coe writes, the conversation about new ways of preparing students for the world of law is a relevant one, as the industry increasingly requires business know-how and creative innovation to remain competitive amidst a rapidly changing landscape. UPenn Law's “Future of the Profession Initiative” program is reflecting on these new industry trends and is influencing other law schools to create similar programs. Should law schools teach skills that segway into other fields or should these “hard skills” be learned on the job or pursued elsewhere?  But isn’t it the responsibility of these schools to make sure students leave prepared? The answer is unclear, but one thing isn’t: careers in law have changed significantly, and don’t show sign of slowing.