Bar News - May 13, 2011
Webster Scholars’ Program Taking Flight
The upcoming swearing in ceremony on May 20 will feature the fourth class of Daniel Webster Scholars at the UNH School of Law to be admitted to the Bar. The ceremony will be notable for several reasons.
The three-year pilot is over; the experiment of substituting an intensive period of practical instruction and evaluation instead of a formal written exam as a bar examination has proven to be successful and feasible, said John Garvey, Webster Scholar director and professor at UNH Law. The class is the largest yet, with close to 20 expected to be sworn in (final results were not available at press time). Previous classes have had no more than 15, Garvey said.
The program continues to attract national attention. Garvey recently participated in a Future of Education program organized by the deans of Harvard and New York University. The program included a series of presentations on ways to improve legal education, and the Daniel Webster Scholars concept was judged one of the most promising.
The May 20 ceremony at the NH Supreme Court will be notable for its participants. Presiding for the first time will be Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis, who helped set up the program, spurred by her dissatisfaction with the traditional written bar exam as a means of certifying readiness to practice. Also playing a key role in the ceremony will be John T. Broderick, Jr., now dean of the law school, who formerly occupied the seat of the chief justice.
In the audience will be another special contingent: the board of trustees of the UNH School of Law, whose regular meeting is scheduled for later in the day. Garvey said it will be heartening for the trustees to see the achievement of the school reflected in the quality of the Webster scholars program.
Garvey said the greatest measure of the success of the Webster Scholars is the success of the graduates. "They are doing quite a bit better than the regular job market," Garvey said. "Law school graduates all over the country are having problems – but our graduates are doing very well."