Saturday, October 6, 2007
Conor Granahan's Advice for Erwin Chemerinsky: 1L "Life in the Law" Course
Continuing our series of responses from various legal luminaries to the question: What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine:
Conor D. Granahan (Associate, Oium Reyen & Pryor, San Francisco; J.D. 2005, Indiana University School of Law):
Create a first year, required mini-course entitled "Life in the Law." Focus on career expectations and career paths. Present the employment statistics for the nation, the state, Southern California and the school (or comparable schools as UCI is brand new). Address salaries and expected advancement within an organization. Break down available options, including government positions, academic positions and positions outside of the law.
Provide an in-depth breakdown for private law. Show students how many lawyers practice in big firms, small firms and as solos. Inform students about the largest practice areas, the smallest practice areas and the type of law practiced by what types of lawyers and law firms. Incorporate members of the legal community to provide insights as guest lecturers about their different experiences.
Make the course required to help alleviate frustrations some students may feel regarding employment opportunities. Lessen the pressure, stigma or anxiety associated with using the Career Services department.
I learned a great deal about the structure of the legal market post-graduation, information that could have helped me a great deal while I was choosing elective courses, seeking internships, and ultimately seeking a full-time position. While course selection, internships and a first job do not dictate one's entire career, a student concerned about employment could better prepare for the entrance into the legal market.
[From Bill Henderson: "Conor is my former student. It was his idea for this forum. His suggestion for a 1l Life in the Law course is exactly what we are doing now at Indiana with our new 1L 4-credit Legal Professions class. Conor: I am sorry that you did not get the benefit of this course, but you are having an impact. You got this ball rolling .... Thanks!"]
For all the posts in the series, see here.