Law Students

Fixing Law School: 6 Experts Have Their Say
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In light of this week’s cover of The New Republic, which tells of Noam Scheiber’s thoughts on the legal apocalypse and the badlands-scorched earth aftermath of the legal profession, 6 experts in the legal industry talk about positive change, and steering the legal profession in the right direction in light of the economy and legal industry as they currently stand.

Alan Dershowitz, of Harvard Law, comments that law schools’ educational structure should be changed to two academic years and one internship specialization year. The first two years would be the “core” classes, and the third would be “away from conventional teaching” where the students would be learning via distance but mainly though their work either at an organization or in clinical training. The year would finish with month long seminars and lectures to tie in the relevant experiences. These changes would drive down the cost of law school.

  
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Mike Kinsley, editor of The New Republic, comments that 2 years of schooling with a third year of clinical practice is sufficient for law school. He also feels that the Socratic method is outdated as a method of teaching. He feels that much can be gained with online classes.

University of Colorado Law at Boulder law professor, Paul Campos, comments that giving unlimited loans to law students is a huge problem. He notes that since the cost of law school has doubled over two decades, the amount of debt that students have to take on is staggering. Relative to the sluggish job market, he feels it is almost irresponsible for lenders to give students access to that much debt.

Senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, comments that too many brilliant Americans go to law school, while the giant law firms that absorbed the rush of legal graduates are a thing of the past. “Fewer people should go to law school, and more should drop out,” she says.  She also feels that the three year law school model is a good idea, but that she would arrange it so that the practical part came first, so as to give students a real understanding of the less famous parts of being a lawyer, such as handling cranky clients, or taking depositions.

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Founder and managing editor of Above the Law, David Lat, comments that a post college gap should be mandatory for all graduates. In this way students can get somewhat of a view of the world before rushing into a field without seeing their options. He feels that there are “Too many lawyers chasing too little work,” itself a product of the skewed supply demand of too many people going to law school.

For the intelligent and ambitious yet undecided, law school has been a default option, according to The New Republic. David lat agrees entirely with this formulation of the problem. He feels that the one year gap would force people to explore other paths and options.



Relative to the job market and high cost of education, people should consider every option at hand. Law school is a big choice, and it has to be made with care.



 

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