UMKC School of Law

Teaching and Learning Law

                   Barbara Glesner Fines

Executive Associate Dean & Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law
University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law

Barb Glesner Fines



Assessment for Student Learning in Law Schools
Law School Assessment Conferences
Group and Team-Based Learning
Legal Education Articles
Useful Links for Law Teaching
Learning Law - Materials for Law Students


Assessment for Student Learning in Law Schools

The Power of a Destination (BGF) How assessment of clear and measurable learning outcomes drives student learning.

Creating an Institutional Culture of Assessment Chapter 7 (with Judith Wegner) of Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., 2015)

Revisiting the Characteristics of Effective Education Chapter 4 (with Michael Hunter Schwartz, Amy Bushaw, Steven Homer, and Deborah Maranville), in Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., 2015)

The Puzzle of Assessment (BGF) - Crossword Puzzle of Assessment Vocabulary (with solution)

Twenty Questions for Identifying Learning Outcomes in Law School  (BGF) A conversation menu for identifying learning outcomes for a single class, an entire course, or even an entire curriculum.  

Classroom Assessment Techniques in Legal Education  (BGF) How to know what (and whether) students are learning in the classroom.  

Questions and Answers in Law School Teaching  (BGF) Asking questions to generate effective learning.

 Five Problems to Avoid in Writing Student Learning Outcomes (BGF) From UMKC Office of Assessment Assessable Roo Newsletter

Assessing Reflection (BGF) Discussion and sample rubric for assessing student reflection in journals or other reflective writing

Out of the Shadows: What Legal Research Instruction Reveals About Incorporating Skills Throughout the Curriculum  (BGF), Journal of Dispute Resolution Spring 2013 - Article includes rubric for assessment of student research skills through upper-level seminar papers

Outcomes Assessment and Professional Responsibility (BGF) A guide to assessment practice in teaching the professional responsibility course

Observation of Classroom Teaching Form A sample form usable for peer review of teaching as an indirect measure of student learning.

Law School Assessment Conferences  

Legal Education at the Crossroads Part I—Ideas to Action (S. Car. November 2007)

Legal Education at the Crossroads Part II—Ideas to Implementation (Univ. Wash. September 2008) (Conference supplementary materials)

Center for Excellence in Law Teaching: Learning Objectives from Day One Conference (Albany Law School April 2012)

AALS Midyear Meeting on Measuring Student Learning Gains (Orlando, June 2015)

Plenary presentation on Assessment Basics (Barbara Glesner Fines)

Conference on Building an Assessment Plan from the Ground Up  (Whittier Law School November 2015)

Group and Team-Based Learning

Using Team Based Learning to Teach Professional Responsibility

Easing into Team-Based Learning
Ideas for incorporating group work into classes in order to build toward a team-based learning course

Teaching with Small Groups  How to use small groups for collaborative learning in teaching law classes.

Peer Teaching: Roles, Relationships and Responsibilities
(For UMKC Structured Study Group Leaders)

Study Groups: The Basics of Planning and Conducting a Study Session
(For UMKC Structured Study Group Leaders)


Legal Education Articles

by Barbara Glesner Fines

Lessons Learned About Classroom Teaching from Authoring Computer-Assisted Instruction Lessons, 38 William Mitchell L. Rev. 1094 (2012). Good teaching is good scholarship/ Choosing a destination is half the battle/ It's about the questions/ The student's viewpoint counts.

Fundamental Principles and Challenges of Humanizing Legal Education, 47 Washburn L.J. 313 (2008). Overview of the basic tenets found in literature regarding balance in legal education.

The Impact of Expectations on Teaching and Learning Law, 38 Gonzaga L. Rev. 89 (2002/03).  Discussing the importance of high expectations and how to avoid excessive demands while maintaining rigor.  

Competition and the Curve, 65 UMKC L. Rev. 879 (1997). Discussing the trade offs in education and professionalism terms of competitive grading structures.

Fear and Loathing in the Law Schools, 23 Connecticut L. Rev. (1991). Discussing the impact of high stress demands of law school on learning and professional development.  

Useful Links for Law Teaching

The Association of Law Teachers ( an International association of law teachers, publishes The Law Teacher and hosts research on legal pedagogy)

AALS Section on Academic Support

AALS Section on Balance in Legal Education

AALS Section on Teaching Methods Newsletters 2000 2006  2008 2009 2010 2011

Best Practices for Legal Education Blog

Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction

Family Law Education Reform Project  

Institute for Law School Teaching & Learning 

International Forum on Teaching Legal Ethics and Professionalism

Law School Academic Support Blog

Legal Education, ADR, & Practical Problem Solving (LEAPS) Project (ABA Section on Dispute Resolution)

IDEA Papers  (From the Individual Development and Educational Assessment Center (IDEA), research papers on a variety of teaching subjects)  

Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center)  

Richard Felder’s Learning Styles Inventory   VARK Learning Styles Inventory  

Team Based Learning (Interactive website introducing team learning methods developed by Larry K. Michaelsen, David Ross Boyd Professor of Management, Univ. Oklahoma)  

Instructional Design.Org (Contains the Explorations in Learning & Instruction: The Theory into Practice Database - My favorite site for quick references on learning theory.  Provides a summary of most major theories of learning and instruction created by Greg Kearsley, an adjunct professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University))  

How People Learn - Brain, Mind, Experience, School (John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, and  Rodney R. Cocking, editors)(This was the text used for the 2001 AALS New Ideas for Experienced Teachers Conference)

Learning Law - Materials for Law Students


Law School Materials for Success (Prof. Glesner Fines - UMKC Law School)

Perspectives on Law School Education : Why It’s So Hard and What to Do About It by Professor Glesner Fines (UMKC)

Letter to a Young Law Student by Emeritus Professor Corinne Cooper (UMKC)

Ten Instructions for Briefing Cases by Professor Paul Bateman (Southwestern Law School )

My Last Lecture: More Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers  by Emeritus Professor John Lande (University of Missouri)


Stress & Anxiety Counseling Center, University at Buffalo

Study Strategies Homepage (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Study Skills (Virginia Polytechnic University)