TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, May 25, 2018

Should Law School Be More Like Chipotle?

Chipotle 4Sacramento Bee, Be More Like Chipotle, Jerry Brown Tells California Universities:

Gov. Jerry Brown, who in his last two terms has pushed, often unsuccessfully, to reshape the state's expansive higher education system, on Wednesday suggested that California universities should be more like Chipotle. ...

"What I like about Chipotle is the limited menu. You stand in the line, get either brown rice or white rice, black beans or pinto beans," Brown said. "You put a little cheese, a little this, a little that, and you're out of there. I think that's a model some of our universities need to follow."

Brown has repeatedly prodded the state's public universities, particularly California State University, to improve their graduation rates. He said Wednesday that if they adopted a "limited-menu concept, everyone would graduate on time."

"They have so damn many courses because all these professors want to teach one of their pet little projects, but then you get thousands and thousands of courses, and then the basic courses aren't available. It takes kids six years instead of four years," Brown said. ...

While lawmakers this week put larger funding increases in their budget plans for UC and CSU, Brown on Wednesday declined to discuss whether he would consider them.

Legal Education | Permalink


I'd prefer it be more like Five Guys. OK, Guys and Girls.

Posted by: mike livingston | May 25, 2018 4:15:53 AM

There are so many courses because there are so many "areas" of law. There are many more areas of law than there were decades ago, and even areas of law in existence half a century ago have grown in scope and depth. Laws dealing with bioethics, information technology, international trade, regulation of retirement plans, and dozens of other types of activities and transactions need attention. It's one thing to order five items from a menu of ten, 20, or 100 choices, and to satisfy one's hunger; it's another thing to order five items in an attempt to construct a machine that needs 50 parts.

Posted by: James Edward Maule | May 25, 2018 5:44:19 AM

Some would argue that law school is already very much like Chipotle, in that it has intermittent emetic effects caused by dubious ingredients.

Posted by: Honest Abel | May 25, 2018 7:07:51 AM

"They have so many damn course because all these professors want to teach one of their pet little projects."

How perfectly stated. Justice Scalia in his later years remarked on how law schools have way too many course offerings. It is bad all around. Inflates costs wildly, and reduces the "common" knowledge among lawyers that law schools really should impart.

But professors need their clinics/seminars in international human rights and Shakespeare and the law and moral philosophy because that is what entertains them and nothing else matters.

Posted by: JM | May 25, 2018 9:24:24 AM

Ah yes, and food poisoning too, please.

Posted by: BA | May 25, 2018 10:05:59 AM

People want Chez Panisse product at Chipotle prices.

Posted by: Anon | May 25, 2018 10:22:57 AM

Would you like that legal ed with or without E. coli?

Posted by: Anon | May 25, 2018 3:36:18 PM

They ain't getting rid of no SJW 101 or its variants.

Posted by: Anon | May 25, 2018 4:19:13 PM

I actually think that's a good point. A 2 year certificate in basic civics, economics, and history should be required before registering for 300 level courses. After 2 years, students should have a better grasp on what they'll need to take later.

Posted by: Lyman Hall | May 26, 2018 5:23:26 AM

Great comments! I'll add my own based on this remark by Governor Brown: "What I like about Chipotle is the limited menu."

There's probably no better description of progressive intentions for those they consider 'deplorables' than that. It's a menu that doesn't include owning guns for self-defense, but that does include tax-funded abortions (particularly for poor blacks). It's a menu that says that anything progressives find offense can be silenced, but that all progressive attacks on conservatives is deserved.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | May 26, 2018 6:46:38 AM

We all come here to read about Law School, but the article and Brown’s comments are about the undergraduate system in the state, and California students’ inability to graduate in four years. He overlooks other factors like affordability, and purposeful study ethic, and instead imagines that the menu of courses is too long for students to figure out. COmpletely beside the point.

But he’s right that professors’ pet subjects comprise a wide range of nonsense courses, and should be dropped.

Posted by: Clint Ramsey | May 26, 2018 6:57:07 AM

Sure, cut your professor's "pet course" but leave alone my professor's course covering the latest developments in the subject.

Posted by: Micha Elyi | May 26, 2018 3:37:55 PM