Frank K. Walwer, dean and professor at the University of Tulsa
College of Law, has been elected chairman of the American Bar
Associaton Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
The ABA section is responsible for making recommendations to the
association's House of Delegates on whether to grant or deny
accreditation to law schools. It also monitors accredited law
schools to ensure that they continue to meet the association's
In his remarks to the section, Walwer said the public interest
required an expansion of efforts by the association to "bridge the
gap" between legal, academic and professional communities.
Defining his remarks in a telephone interview, Walwer noted during
the last century, the training of a lawyer began through
"The aspiring lawyer worked for a lawyer," he said. "Then we went
to a system of law schools and legal training being under the
universities with a heavy emphasis on analysis of court decisions
andvery little having to do with other types of skills and training.
"Now we are in kind of a third stage in which laws schools are
developing clinics to actually deal with legal problems on one hand,
and in Oklahoma, we have a legal internship program where law
students work for attorneys."
The importance of having much more substantial interaction between
the bench and bar and academic community is realized in the new phase
of legal education, Walwer said.
Placing the emphasis on interaction is in one way done by
involving lawyers as adjunct professors in the law schools.
The mode of legal education has changed by opening more avenues to
involve attorneys directly and also instructing students in the role
of the counselor as well as the litigator.
"Lawyers have to deal with two sides," he said. "In one they
represent clients as the plaintiff or defendant, but importantly,
they also represent clients who are trying to enter into contractual
arrangements or settlement negotiations. They have a role as a
counselor in addition to litigator."
Another kind of gap that needs to be bridged, Walwer said, is
between law and interdiscipline.
"All segments of society simply have to have some exposure in law
schools to enable people to deal with law and medicine problems (for
example.) There should be more teaching from other professions-
interdiscliplinary education," he said.
Walwer noted that TU has a joint degree in law and biological
science, law and business, and for those with a masters in education
who want to go into school administration.
This is the second year in which first year law students enter
school one week early to learn the techniques of legal research and
devote themselves to becoming familiar with the law library.
The number of credit requirements for legal writing has been
increased and emphasized to a greater degree.
Within the last year, the law school has established an
arrangement with the ABA to edit its monograph on natural resources.
TU law students also edit the Federal Energy Bar Association's
"So on the national scene, Tulsa is editing two very important
publications in the energy/natural resources area. It's nice to have
a focus in the state of Oklahoma," Walwer said. …