TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weiser: Five Initiatives That Legal Education Needs

Legal RebelsABA Journal Legal Rebels:  Five Initiatives That Legal Education Needs, by Phil Weiser (Dean, Colorado):

The upside of today’s New Normal is that law schools have the opportunity to develop a new generation of lawyers who are more purposeful than ever before about how to develop and navigate their careers. These graduates will be legal entrepreneurs. By that, I mean lawyers—whether working in government, nonprofits, law firms, consulting firms, or businesses—who take ownership of their career paths and develop the tool kit necessary to add value and succeed wherever they work. Developing legal entrepreneurs, however, requires a commitment to innovation and experimentation that until recently has not been traditionally associated with legal academia. To underscore the range of emerging innovations needed in legal academia, consider the following five initiatives now taking place in legal education:

  1. Build an entrepreneurial mindset
  2. Challenge employers on entry-level hiring
  3. Compress law school education and couple with experience
  4. Provide multidisciplinary training
  5. Engage with the community.

Experimentation, innovation, and the New Normal.
In 2008, most law school deans were living in the Old Normal. Today, all law school deans know that they are in a New Normal. The reality is that the shaping of today’s environment took place over a long period of time, even if we did realize it while it was happening. As such, developing a new model will not happen overnight. But momentum is building. The broad outlines of the New Normal—the need for a more entrepreneurial mindset, more community engagement, more multidisciplinary training, and new (and nontraditional) employment pathways—are now taking shape through experiments all over the country. The exciting part of this emerging paradigm is that it is still very much a work in progress, and law schools have the opportunity to develop creative partnerships and innovations to support our students in a changing and challenging environment.

Legal Education | Permalink


I guess number 3 kind of gets at it, but all you really need is lower tuition. Compressing the degree to two years or switching back to the LL.B is one way to do that, of course (probably the best way IMO).

Of course, the other issue is that there aren't enough jobs, and I'm not entirely sure what law schools could do about that other than (perhaps) admitting fewer students.

Posted by: No, breh. | Sep 27, 2013 10:03:59 AM

The law schools can do any number of well-meaning initiatives, but without drastically cutting tuition and enrollment so someone attending law school can expect an opportunity to work as a lawyer and afford their loans with said lawyer pay, students will continue to suffer and those in the ivory tower will keep fiddling away.

Posted by: No, breh, part 2 | Sep 27, 2013 11:30:25 AM