Despite law firms’ demand for first year associates who can work collaboratively, teamwork is infrequently taught in legal education. Law professors unfamiliar with teamwork theory and practice are unlikely to use teams to engage students in their learning. As a result, law schools continue to graduate students who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the concept of working in teams, particularly interdisciplinary teams.
This article focuses on the teamwork teaching methods we use in the interdisciplinary courses we teach at California Western. We first provide a rationale for teaching teamwork and a brief description of what professional graduate schools are currently doing to incorporate teamwork instruction. We explain how we use teams within our courses, and how we teach our students teamwork. We then discuss the methodology and findings of our surveys to assess whether students believed they were improving in their knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding teamwork, and, if so, which components of the courses they believed were most effective in accomplishing this improvement. Finally, we analyze what we have learned from our survey results and how the results, along with our experience, have changed our views and practices of teaching teamwork to law students.