Sep 8, 2009
Law Schools Waking Up – Dumping 3rd Year Curriculum For the Practical
I woke up this morning and smiled from ear-to-ear as I read this article. And buried in there was a jewel..
“A lot of the changes are in response to the marketplace,” said David Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern University School of Law. “Students are concerned about getting jobs, and everybody wants to be relevant.”
Graduates face stiff competition for law firm positions, and clients are balking at footing the bill to train new attorneys. Consequently, law school leaders consider it more important than ever to send students into the profession armed with practical skills, not just extensive knowledge of case law and legal theory. More law schools are modifying coursework and adding practical classes to help students develop the skills past graduates have had the luxury of learning on the job. In that vein, a growing number of law schools are emphasizing teamwork, leadership, professional judgment and the ability to view issues from the clients’ perspective.
“I think we are at a moment of historical change across the landscape of legal education,” said Washington and Lee Dean Rodney A. Smolla. “When we look back at this period in five to 10 years, we will mark it as the time when the whole mission of law schools made a fundamental turn.”
Some who have already graduated may say, ‘too little, too late’ but at least it is happening. Now when they offer graduates who are struggling some much needed assistance through their alumni programs then we know the schools have really recognized they can’t ever go back to the old ways.
I’d like to suggest a few more changes:
- Bring on more adjuncts who can bring practical knowledge
- Give the adjuncts a say on curriculum and a ‘vote’ on other matters relating to the overall education
- Tell the ABA to wake up and not screw it up with their political bulls#$t when creative and pioneering schools take the lead in revamping their programs
- Denouncing U.S. News and World Reports lists and tell the law schools to no longer participate. ABA should create their own top list with input from students!!!
I wrote this CT Law Tribune article more than 3 years ago denouncing the law school curriculum.
What do you think? Let’s keep the discussion going on this. It’s too important to let slide by.