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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chronicle: America's Longest-Serving Law Dean Defends the Value of a Law Degree

Chronicle of Higher Education:  America's Longest-Serving Law Dean Defends the Value of a Law Degree:

Rudy Hasl, the longest-serving law dean in America, is stepping down June 30 as dean and president of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego. Mr. Hasl, who is 70, has spent 32 years overseeing law schools at Thomas Jefferson and at Saint Louis, St. John's, and Seattle Universities. He has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the Law School Admission Council. Mr. Hasl leaves at a time of intense scrutiny of law schools' curricula and high price, and amid questions about the employment prospects of graduates. Here's his story, as told to Katherine Mangan. ...

There's been a great deal of coverage in the national press that has underestimated the value of a law degree and caused potential applicants to question whether they should make the investment in a legal education.

I remind students that what law schools are providing is a set of skills that are valued in our society and that will ultimately lead to a meaningful employment opportunity. To try to measure that by what job you have on graduation, or even nine months later, doesn't make sense.

I tell students you're investing in something that provides you the ability to shape your career. That could be in business, in the political arena, or in traditional law-firm settings. I was a classics major, and there's no market directly for someone in classics, but it's a foundational training that hopefully makes one better at analyzing problems and articulating a position.

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