MCL Law Dean wrote:OK, so I admit to stirring the pot a bit on purpose . . . and many of the points regarding the current and most recent graduating classes are well made. However, what no one wants to seriously discuss is how to realistically move ahead. You are fighting last year's battle which is already won/lost depending on your perspective. The ABA is seriously considering how to modify legal education, but it isn't focused on closing underperforming schools. University presidents ARE looking at how to trim the financial losses from their law schools. So how about about applying some of the creativity and thinking of TLS to how we can actually improve legal education, possibly lower the cost to students, AND better serve the middle class and limited means clients. For example, the CA Task Force is about to require a minimum of 15 practical/experiential units in law school including clinics and internships, 50 hours of pro-bono service as a condition for licensure, and 10 specified practice-oriented CLE courses within the first year of practice. The Task Force, which is made up of lawyers, judges, law professors, and bar trustees is also looking at how to better use adjuncts and practitioners in the law school curriculum. It may be a small start, but it is a definite message that changes in the typical law school curriculum are coming . . . and it will be led by the practitioners, not the faculty.
This is all a huge waste of time that obscures the real issue: too many lawyers and not enough money to pay them all. Requiring law students to take more clinical credits is pointless. At top schools, clinical experience is worthless (for many) because you can't get experience in big firm practice in a clinic or externship (all that clinic experience really helps you when you show up at your firm to do M&A). You're better off taking more
substantive classes, not less. At the rest of the schools, it's already a big part of the curriculum and at most you're preparing people for jobs that don't exist.
Changing the curriculum doesn't actually help middle- and lower-class clients. Law schools can't do anything to change the structural problems with the profession, unless you're going to convince Harvard to donate its endowment to the LSC.
ETA: exactly what Tiago said.