What Could Possibly Go Wrong With Making Law School A Two-Year Program? (Responses)
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TimestampYour Name [Anoymous is fine]What are your thoughts on a two-year law school program?
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8/26/2013 11:12:01AnonymousLast I heard firms were up in arms about the (non-existent) practical skills of new associates and clients, at least Big Law clients, were fuming over high hourly rates for law firm "trainees." Rather than producing more "practice-ready" lawyers, 2-year programs would pawn off more of the costs for training onto firms and clients. How is this not going backwards???
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8/26/2013 11:35:56Susan Hackett - Legal Executive LeadershipIt seems to me that the real question isn't the length of the stay in school, but the relevance of what's taught. I'd be supportive of a shorter curriculum if the focus was on practical skills and their application; the current 3-year curriculum teaches legal theory and caselaw, with only a sprinkling of classes geared to serving a client or participating in a law practice. While I don't think law schools should become technical institutes, I think most of us with fancy JDs felt ill-prepared to actually serve a real client when we graduated after 3 years of curriculum focused on theory without application to real-life practice.

For those worried that 2 years is not enough time to make a legal professional out of a college grad, perhaps we could focus on two years of formal training in law school, followed by additional time outside of the school/classroom in practical apprenticeships, from which - if successfully completed - a student could be passed forward for admission to the bar. Doctors, for instance, are required to combine schooling with residency or other clinical work to assure that they've been vetted in a manner which tests not only their memorization of theory and principle, but their ability to actually treat and heal a patient. Why not consider this with law?

I blogged a while back about the topic of re-framing law school educational models if you're interested: http://www.legalexecutiveleadership.com/2011/blowing-up-the-box-starting-a-conversation-about-re-engineering-the-us-law-school-educational-model

(Next up: the need to talk about whether the US bar exam is a meaningful way to test for competency to practice, either!)

Cheers -
- Susan
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8/27/2013 9:28:00Bob WellsI am a proponent of two year law schools, with a third year
being optional if the student sees value in the course offerings.  A good
friend is a law school dean, and he believes that a person who goes directly
from undergraduate to law school will not be ready to take on the legal issues
of another.  Another friend believes that two year schools will only bring
on more for profit law schools.

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8/27/2013 9:51:15GRR1.That the elite schools will up the cost of tuition to cover the losses (look at the cost of two year MBAs at the elite schools if you don't think that this likely to happen).

2. That a two year program will require that low tier schools just teach the bar subjects and bar prep for students to pass the bar. There will be no time for practical skills course.

I understand the need to reformulate the law school experience but this is not the way to do it.
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8/27/2013 9:55:54Adam Ziegler, Lawyer & Co-Founder of MootusWhat matters more than the length of the program are (1) the cost to students and (2) the value of what they're being taught. Right now, students are spending $150K to acquire knowledge and skills that employers and sophisticated clients seem not to value. Whether it's two years or three years, we need to attack those fundamental problems directly.
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8/30/2013 9:56:05Brain injury attorney dallas texasI don't think there is something so wrong about cutting it off a year less as long as there is an actual practice of what was being taught then I guess that will do it.
It could probably give opportunities for students who can't afford a longer education.
And we'll never know the results if we don't give it a try.
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