Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Why Stop with the Third Year -- Let's Do Away with the Whole Thing!
California, Vermont, Virginia and Washington allow law readers to take bar exams after three or four years in apprenticeships registered with the state. Three other states -- New York, Maine and Wyoming -- let non-law school graduates take bar exams if they have a combination of office study and law school experience.
Fewer than 150 aspiring lawyers are getting their legal educations in programs that require no law school whatsoever, according to the bars of the states that allow the practice. By comparison, more than 140,000 students attend law schools approved by the American Bar Association, and thousands more attend schools not approved by the ABA.
Despite some challenges, law readers can achieve big things. Marilyn Skoglund, for instance, sits on the Vermont Supreme Court, and Gary Blasi is a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.
I knew one person in New York who was apprenticing. It sounded like a tough path, but it worked for this person's life situation.
Is this generally a good idea? A bad idea? Is it just a relic (only 150 people doing it now) that we can tolerate, or one that should be scrapped? Dan S. and Laura's exchange at Legal Affairs (and here) has highlighted the fact that law school means different things to different people. I suspect that differences in goals and perceptions, such as those that have driven Dan S. and Laura's debate so far, would certainly inform responses to the appropriateness and place of apprenticeships.
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