Friday, October 18, 2013
Michael A. Olivas
(Houston), 58,000 Minutes: An Essay on Law Majors and Emerging Proposals for the Third Year of Law Study, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 1 (2014):
Any number of recent debates animate discussions of legal education and its perdition, failures, and confidence-game character. As one of the many prescriptions offered for the wounded enterprise, a number of serious and semi-serious discussions have arisen considering the three-year period required by most law schools. In addition there are serious discussions afoot concerning the need for specialization in an increasingly specialized legal practice. This Article critiques two of the many program emphases that have arisen, that of JD majors for specialization, and the option of eliminating the third year through compression or early bar admissions. While these are obviously not the same issue, they are related and grow from the notion that law studies are professional skills training, that professional specialization requires JD training specialization regimes, and that schools should accommodate alternative calendars and occupational branding measures to single themselves out in the large legal marketplace and facilitate placement for their graduates. My responses are at least in part counter-intuitive, and are offered to further discussion on the important underlying issues.