Law schools encouraged to teach practical skills
In the current economic climate, law graduates face a tough job market and an increasing number of corporate clients that would really rather not pay for their on-the-job training. These realities have precipitated an ongoing debate about how much law schools should be charging for tuition, how many students they should be admitting each year, and what kind of information they should be providing to prospective students about their work prospects after graduation.
This article addresses another aspect of legal education – the fact that most law schools will teach students the theoretical underpinnings of the law without giving them the practical training that they need to actually be a lawyer. Before the recession, this training model was not seen as problematic and law firms could charge clients for time spent teaching first and second year associates the basics of lawyering. But as clients force law firms to trim their legal bills and refuse to have first and second year associates working on their matters, the industry will need to find another way to train it’s employees.
This article proposes an interesting solution to the problem: “Imagine what would happen if a coalition of elite law firms approached every Ivy League law school and gave them an ultimatum: Change your curriculum, or in five years we will stop hiring your graduates.” According to the article, the only thing that will motivate law schools to establish more practice-oriented curricula is the threat that leading law firms will look elsewhere for recruitment.
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