Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Four Plus Two:
Practitioners and professors continue to explore new paths for legal education. Based on both pedagogy and market needs, I recommend this approach:
1. Move the first 1-1/2 years of law school into the undergraduate curriculum, creating a law major. Students who complete this curriculum will not be eligible to practice law, but they will benefit from a liberal arts education with a focus on thinking like a lawyer. These graduates will be able to apply their legal knowledge and critical thinking to business, public affairs, compliance, and a host of other careers. They will also be qualified to perform document review and other routine legal tasks that some JDs currently undertake.
2. Create a 2-year JD that builds upon the undergraduate degree and prepares graduates for law practice. Like other graduate departments, these programs will enroll fewer students than the undergraduate major. They will include substantial clinical and experiential work, as well as classes focused on advanced doctrinal and policy issues. Most students in these degree programs will focus on a particular field of law, although general practice will remain one of those options.
Update: Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Committing to Law