Saturday, March 15, 2014
National Jurist op-ed: Why a Legal Education Is Worth It, by Rigel Oliveri (Associate Dean, Missouri):
Lawyers have always gotten a bad rap. The old saying about everyone hating lawyers until you need one is very true. And lately legal education has come under heavy fire as well. Law schools are criticized for teaching too much theory and not enough practice, for being too expensive, for churning out too many graduates into an already-saturated legal market. The lucky few who do get jobs at big firms are stressed out, bored, and disillusioned with their work – at least, according to the critics.
It’s not that these critiques don’t have some truth. Law schools do need to focus more on practice skills and experiential learning. The employment market for lawyers has gotten tougher, especially for people seeking the plum jobs at big law firms. Student loans, for lack of a more elegant term, suck.
But, and here is where I finally get to my point: The law is fascinating. It is incredibly important in people’s lives. And a legal education is an amazing opportunity to get the tools to understand, and most importantly, work within this system. ...
[I]t breaks my heart to hear about young people who are interested in law deciding not to bother applying to law school. Our society is shaped in innumerable ways by law. We need another generation of the best and brightest to learn the craft, to continue helping people with their legal needs, to make sure our government works the way that it should.