Welcome to the Family Law Education Reform (FLER) Project Website

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)Hofstra University School of LawWilliam Mitchell College of Law

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Download the Template Submission Form.

The goal of the FLER Project is to close the gap between the teaching and practice of family law.

This Web site was developed as a resource to help law professors and others in academic life integrate interdisciplinary perspectives and skills training into their family law courses.

The FLER Project

The FLER Project was co-sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the Hofstra School of Law Center for Children, Families and the Law. Over a two-year period, the Project systematically involved hundreds of law school faculty, law students and interdisciplinary family court professionals in developing a series of recommendations for educating the next generation of family lawyers. The Report of the Family Law Education Reform Project (FLER) documents a gap between the content of family law courses and the way that family law is practiced. It concluded:

Today’s family lawyers need a thorough understanding of many issues and practices that traditional family law courses rarely touch upon. These include the appropriate—and inappropriate—uses of dispute resolution processes, new case management techniques in the family courts, the key roles played by professionals from other disciplines in the court system, and current research on such issues as the effects of conflict and loss of parental contact on children. Yet the materials from which most family law professors teach contain nary a word on most of these topics or on the skills necessary for effective family law practice.

---Mary E. O’Connell & J. Herbie DiFonzo, The Family Law Education Reform Project Final Report, 44 FAM. CT. REV. 525, 528 (2006).

For the full text of the FLER Report, click here (PDF);

At about the same time as the publication of the FLER Report, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching made a similar analysis of legal education generally, calling for law schools to match “the first year’s … emphasis on well-honed skills of legal analysis … by similarly strong skill in serving clients and a solid ethical grounding.” It recommended that law schools “offer an integrated curriculum” that joins lawyering, professionalism and legal analysis from the start. WILLIAM M. SULLIVAN ET. AL. EDUCATING LAWYERS: PREPARATION FOR THE PROFESSION OF LAW 4 (2007).

To view the Carnegie Foundation Report summary, click here.

Our hope is that this website will serve as a useful tool for family law professors to collaboratively address the challenges posed by the FLER and Carnegie Foundation Reports.