Monday, October 7, 2013
Law School Cafe: Reframing the Two-Year Debate, by Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State):
I suggest reframing our discussion of legal education by asking four
fundamental questions: (1) What does law school currently teach? (2)
Which members of our society would benefit from all or part of that
education? (3) Does our society need new types of law-related education?
(4) How can our educational system most efficiently and effectively
address the educational needs identified in response to these three
Exploring these questions could take legal education in many
directions. We might identify new ways to address our nation’s need for
cost-effective legal assistance. We might also contribute to better
workforce preparation among non-lawyers. We might even find ways to
enhance high school education. For today, I’ll outline just one proposal
that has emerged from my own pursuit of these questions: Create an
undergraduate major based on the first two years of law school.
This major would not be a “pre-law” one; nor would it be law school
lite. I propose literally transferring the first two years of law school
to the undergraduate curriculum. Like our current 1L and 2L years, the
major would include a large number of required courses along with some
electives. Undergraduates could share some of the electives with post-BA
law students, just as undergraduates in other fields share some
electives with graduate students.