Following up on my prior posts (here, here, here, and here) on President Obama's support for a two-year J.D.: New York Times, Should the Third Year of Law School Be Cut?:
Philip G. Schrag (Georgetown):
Obama’s suggestion to cut law school education from three years to two has surface appeal. But the result would be that new lawyers would be exposed only to basic survey courses and would receive little of the specialized training that their future clients will need.
It is virtually impossible to construct a four-semester curriculum that would include the basic subjects such as corporations law, criminal law and procedure, the introductory tax course and evidence along with more advanced subjects such as corporate taxation, the law of government, international trade law and negotiation.
Marsha N. Cohen (UC-Hastings):
President Obama seems to have endorsed this week the lawyer training model being implemented by our new national nonprofit, Lawyers for America, incubated by University of California Hastings College of the Law but available to all law schools. Fellows spend their third year at a legal nonprofit or government agency. After graduation and the bar exam, they return to the same workplace for a year, earning a fellowship stipend, the funds for which are provided by the agency, which benefits from low-cost fellows.
Douglas G. Morris (Federal Public Defender, New York):
Here is my experience, based on 30 years as a lawyer working with scores of students. Compared with second-year students, third-year students stand out. They know more. They analyze legal issues better. They conduct themselves more professionally.
My counterproposal is this: Make law school four years.
Washington Post op-ed: Why Legal Education Should Last for Three Years, by Bruce Ackerman (Yale):
President Obama was dead wrong last month in suggesting that law school educations should be only two years. The third year is not an expensive frill but a crucial resource in training lawyers for 21st-century challenges. ... If Obama’s “cost-cutting” measure were adopted, it would impoverish American public life. Once two-year graduates move into practice, they won’t be able to deal adequately with bread-and-butter issues of antitrust, intellectual property or corporate law, let alone with the challenges of civil rights or environmental law....
In contrast, if law schools redeem the promise of a three-year curriculum, their graduates will have something valuable to contribute to the larger conversation. They will never rival experts in their command of statistics and social science, but so long as they understand the basics they will be in a position to integrate technical insights into a broader understanding of the fundamental values of the American legal tradition.
- ABA Journal, Would Losing the 3L Year Really Reduce Students’ Costs? Bloggers Discuss
- Above the Law, Law School Offers Two-Year Program That (Shockingly) Costs Only Two Years of Tuition
- BloombergBusinessweek, Do American Lawyers Need Less Law School?
- Boston Globe editorial, Three-Year Law School Deserves Second Look Amid Upheaval
- Business Insider, 'Like Watching Paint Dry:' Why the Third Year of Law School Is a Waste
- CNBC, Will the Legal Establishment Allow a Two-Year Law School?
- The Daily Tar Heel, Some at UNC Question Obama Law School Plan
- The Economist,
Making Law School Cheaper:
For Many, Two Years Is Plenty
- The Global Legal Post, Blowing the Whistle on US Law Schools:
With Courses From 'Wine and the Law' to 'Understanding Obama', Even President Obama is Calling for a Rethink on US Law Schools
- The Hoya, Georgetown Law Dean Backs Third Year
- Huffington Post op-ed, President Obama's Right -- The Importance of Reducing the Cost of Legal Education, by
Douglas Kmiec (Pepperdine)
- Minnesota Daily, Law Schools: Third Year Is Too Crucial to Lose
- OpenMarkets.org, Scholars React to President’s Call to Shrink Law School from Three Years to Two
- WNYC, Law School in Three Years?