Paul L. Caron

Friday, January 13, 2012

How Will Law Schools Respond to the Central Question of Our Time?

AALSABA Journal, The New Normal -- A View from AALS: What Change Looks Like, by Paul Lippe (Founder and CEO, Legal OnRamp):

The AALS meeting, at which I had the opportunity to speak, presented in very clear terms the central question of our time:

Will smart and privileged people be able to pull together to effectively manage structural change, or will they use their skill to protect their privileges, even if it's clearly against their long-term self interest?

The backdrop of the meeting was set by two articles: David Segal’s piece in the New York Times on the problems of newly minted lawyers and the frustration with the cost of lawyers; and my friend Bill Henderson’s cover story in the ABA Journal on the law school financing bubble.

Neither critique requires us to throw out the (law school) baby with the bathwater. They both simply point out an unhealthy level of disconnect and a need for reform.

Legal Education | Permalink


I think the first step toward improving law schools would be to start hiring serious scholars and stop listening to trendy nonsense.

Posted by: mike livingston | Jan 14, 2012 3:43:17 AM

It's disheartening to see that almost every new proposal for improving or reforming legal education essentially ignores the practicing bar.

They ignore the practicing bar's views and goals as to what kind of new lawyers it can absorb and put to good use. They ignore the practicing bar's preferences as to what those new lawyers have been trained in and, for the most part (i.e., everything except the bar exam), tested on.

Worst of all, they ignore the traditional function, now badly ravished, of the practicing bar in training its new law graduates in how to actually be lawyers.

And training new lawyers is what this is all about. Instead, too much of legal education is now about training potential new law professors, community organizers, and political activists.

One need look no further than at the medical profession to see what's missing: A useful and uniform national system of board certification that is part of a rigorous and meaningful system of post-J.D. training and qualification.

With due respect (which means it's sharply limited) to those floating such proposals (and I'm not focusing this criticism on Prof. Caron, because I think he's one of the good guys, if not yet a convert):

Until that's fixed, you guys are just jerking off.

Posted by: Beldar | Jan 13, 2012 3:27:09 PM