Paul L. Caron

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Faber Law School? The Seven-Year J.D.

Belushi One of my favorite lines in Animal House is when John Belushi's Bluto Blutarsky is told that he and his frat brothers are going to be kicked out of Faber College, he says "Seven years of college down the drain!"  Arizona State yesterday announced a new flex-time option giving students the opportunity to earn a J.D. in seven years:

To sign up for the College of Law's flexible schedule, students will follow the regular application process, then after admission, elect to take a reduced course load. The normal course load is four or five courses each semester. A reduced course load could mean two or three courses. Students would have two years to finish the normal first-year curriculum, and would have a total of seven years to complete the J.D. The flexible-schedule program is not a separate part-time program, and students would take courses with full-time J.D. candidates and from the same professors.

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This will definitely help attract and retain more students who work full time. However, ASU should be careful to structure the program requirements so that it doesn't devolve into exactly the kind of Animal House that gave us Bluto. This should be for the benefit of working professionals, not for 23 year old college grads to coast for 7 years. That would give non-working students the unfair advantage of more time to study by taking less credits.

Posted by: WL | Mar 5, 2009 9:11:44 PM

And given the lax standards and "special arrangements" made on the California State Bar exam, they'll have six months to complete the test, with a minimum of ten do-overs. Then after they go into practice, all jury verdicts will be the best two out of three. Phooey. Now I know why I retired.

Posted by: LawhawkSF | Mar 5, 2009 8:56:06 PM

I think this is a really wonderful idea! What we don't need right now is more attorneys chasing ambulances or quantifying the proper number of handicapped spaces. Delay. More Delay! Keep'em drinking!!!

Posted by: SenatorMark4 | Mar 5, 2009 3:46:17 PM

"Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the f***in' Peace Corps."

Also hilarious is the listing of officers, with J. Blutarsky '60 '61'62'63

"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
-- Vernon Wormer to Kent Dorfman

(sorry, but when else does this come up?"

Posted by: The Portly Lawyer | Mar 5, 2009 2:33:45 PM

Don't forget Bluto ended up as Senator Blutarsky. Obviously, he is still there ;).

Posted by: RHSwan | Mar 5, 2009 1:40:55 PM

Like we need more lawyers?!?

Posted by: M | Mar 5, 2009 1:23:47 PM

Wendy: You have no plans...after college you'll still be getting drunk with your friends every weekend.

Tim: No, after college I plan on getting drunk every night.

Posted by: Dean Wormer | Mar 5, 2009 1:11:56 PM

I went to Arizona State. If I didn't need that thing called money, I would have taken 12 years to graduate.

Not a bad idea but I am sure there will be opposition. When I was in law school (not at ASU), there was a discussion of a part-time program and the opposition was fierce, especially from the liberals who felt it would lower the value their law degree. I didn't care either way but whent he debate would come up I would have some funw ith it and say what about single mothers who had children to raise, minorities, and the poor, who had no choice but to work. Funny how when they felt it would directly affect their elite status how they did not care about the usual victims anymore.

Posted by: Brian G. | Mar 5, 2009 1:06:42 PM

St Ives is the patron saint of lawyers, St Ives as in "As I was going to St Ives...." Now every student has seven years....

Q: Will every student get seven days to pass the Bar Exam? Seven tries to pass?

In practice, will every student get seven tries to get his client's needs met?

Posted by: Tom Comerford | Mar 5, 2009 1:06:11 PM

7 years?! Dear God. Going back to law school later in life my circumstances required I do a four-year night program, and I can tell you that last 4th year was sheer hell (think Bataan Death March sans guys with bayonets for those who couldn't keep up).

I can't imagine anyone coming out of a seven year law program would be anything other than a twitch-riddled, drooling, broken man.

Posted by: H Tuttle | Mar 5, 2009 12:31:01 PM

Yuck. 3 years is already far too long.

Posted by: JM | Mar 5, 2009 12:18:05 PM

I teach at a PhD granting State University on the East Coast and a good number of our graduate students are working full time to pay for school as no one is paying it for them. In my experience, they are better and more dedicated students then the fulltime students. By the way just as a disclaimer I earned a MS, a MBA, and just recently a PhD all part time while working full time so I might be biased. :)

Posted by: Rich | Mar 5, 2009 12:17:54 PM

Such a part-time law student who lacks the funds to be full-time could significantly benefit IF he/she has a job that provides understanding of matters that are addressed in law courses that a young student straight from college might not have. I'm thinking primarily of transactions, mostly business transactions, that many full-time students might not fully comprehend or ben exposed to, such as the impact of tax laws on transactions addressed in law school courses other than taxation.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline | Mar 5, 2009 4:31:51 AM