Prof. Sean Scott: Innovation Inside and Outside the Classroom

Senior Associate Dean Sean Scott

For Senior Associate Dean Sean Scott, innovation in and out of the classroom has always been a top priority. As a teacher and administrator, she is

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committed to ensuring Loyola’s curriculum best serves the evolving legal needs of Los Angeles and beyond – whether that involves practicing law or learning critical thinking skills to excel in a position outside the courtroom.

Scott’s commitment is confirmed by her record, which includes launching Loyola’s first degree for non-lawyers as well as unique programs in emerging fields such as cybersecurity and fashion law. Innovation continues in her classroom, where she has developed a hybrid model of teaching that fuses online instructional videos with classroom interaction.

A professor at Loyola since 1989, Scott has spent eight years as an associate dean helping to develop curriculum. During her tenure, the school has launched a wide range of programs to help students stay ahead. She spearheaded the Master of Science in Legal Studies, or MLS, program, designed to provide critical-thinking and legal-analysis tools to professionals not intending to practice law. She also supervised the creation of the Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Law programs, available as a concentration to JD students and as a specialization to students in the Law School’s MLS and LLM programs. And she rolled out the school’s subject-matter concentrations, which allow students to focus on certificate tracks in 13 areas, including Civil Litigation & Advocacy, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Law and Immigrant Advocacy.

Years of legal practice inform Scott’s teaching methods. Before entering academia, she was an associate at the LA-based Big Law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP.  She draws on that experience in crafting teaching strategies she believes are most beneficial to Loyola’s students. To help her Contracts class develop analytical and critical-thinking skills, Scott “flips” the lecture-based classroom and combines it with video lectures. These lectures, sent to students prior to class, free up valuable class time for in-depth discussion and analysis and allow students to learn complex theory and doctrine at their own pace. “Understanding the theory frees my students to innovate,” Scott said. “This will make them better lawyers and more competitive in the industry.”

Scott’s interest in “flipping” the traditional lecture-based law classroom, coupled with her desire to make the law accessible and interesting, carried over into her roll supervising the development of the MLS program.

At Loyola, MLS students take courses alongside JD students – something not done at other law schools – and Scott believes this sharpens their critical thinking skills in ways that actively impact their careers.

“In every field, emerging legal issues increasingly complicate how business is conducted in the U.S. and abroad. All of Loyola’s programs are intended to empower today’s leaders to flourish amidst those changes,” said Scott.