There seems to be an acknowledgement by certain law schools that the age-old model of law school curricula needs updating to meet the demand for practice ready associate attorneys. While many in the legal field cannot agree on what that updating should look like – two-year curricula, four-year curricula, residency-like programs, or something else - at least the movement has begun.
We previously posted about the debate surrounding President Obama’s comment that law school should be two years instead of three. Now Edward Zelinsky, a Cardozo law school professor, argues in the Oxford University Press’s Blog that law school should be four years. His reasons include allowance for expanded clinical education, reduction in the number of graduates, and to “impart even greater urgency to task of controlling the expense of law school.” This position too has garnered debate.
We also learned that Tulane University’s law school has implemented a one-week “boot camp” program for selected students reportedly crafted to mimic life as a new associate. The program is offered in civil litigation, criminal practice or transactional practice. According to the law school’s dean, David D. Meyer, the students and faculty have given the program “rave reviews,” and the school plans to expand the program next year.
In our previous post, Why Law School Cost and Curriculum Matter To Legal Consumers, we discussed why this all matters to legal consumers. But what do these and other articles/programs mean for legal practice reform? Reforming future legal practices starts with reforming how law students are educated. It appears that there is a growing willingness to reform legal education, and that the dialogue has begun. Hopefully all of the law schools are catching on.
- Law School Deans Discuss the Crisis and Transformation in Legal Education (niagarafoundationfalls.wordpress.com)
- TaxProf Blog: Zelinsky: Add a Fourth Year to Law School (rightcoast.typepad.com)
- IN RESPONSE TO OBAMA’S PLAN FOR TWO-YEAR LAW SCHOOL, Zelinsky: Add a Fourth Year to Law School. “Fi… (pjmedia.com)
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