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Friday, July 22, 2011

NYT's Room for Debate this week features: "The Case Against Law School"

Room for debate logo The online debate over the existing paradigm of legal education should be of interest to readers of Prawfsblawg.  (I saw a reference to it posted on our sister blog The Faculty Lounge by our colleague Kevin Maillard, who also is an invited commentator .)

Look for The Case Against Law School, N.Y. Times (July 21, 2011).  You can read the online discussion and posted comments here.

Question for discussion: Should the standard three years of law school, followed by the bar exam, be the only path to a legal career?

Here is a list of commentators: David Van Zandt, president, The New School; George Leef, Pope Center for Higher Education Policy; Kevin Noble Maillard, law professor, Syracuse University; Rose Cuison Villazor, Hofstra University Law School; David Lat, editor, Above the Law; Geoffrey R. Stone, University of Chicago Law School; Linda Greene, law professor, University of Wisconsin; and Bryan A. Garner, editor in chief, “Black’s Law Dictionary."

Posted by Thomas Baker on July 22, 2011 at 01:53 PM | Permalink


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Some states still allow one to "read the law" by apprenticing for several (often more than three) years under an attorney and then sitting for the bar exam. It doesn't sound like an efficient use of time to me, but it's an alternative to law school. I'd imagine that employers would be very skeptical of such a non-traditional path, however.

Posted by: 2012 Student | Jul 24, 2011 1:35:40 PM

I guess the silence on this comment thread reveals that the legal academy isn't exempt from acting in self-interest; law schools increase yields and tuition while law students become mired in more debt with less chance of legal employment.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 24, 2011 11:58:21 AM

Interesting comment from Bryan Garner:

"Most legal scholarship is poorly written and is mired in nonpractical abstraction that few can understand and fewer still can benefit from. Most law professors don’t know how to write well, so they could hardly teach the subject if they wanted to."

Posted by: nayrb | Jul 23, 2011 6:38:26 PM

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