Uh-huh. As they should.
But if [third year is] an extended vacation, it's pricey: $30,000 or more at top private schools. And at many law schools, grads can't count on the six-figure salaries awaiting many at the most prestigious programs, so an extra year of debt is a big burden.
Some educators want to see the third year beefed up, arguing the law is more complex than ever and future lawyers need more preparation, both for the bar and exam and for their careers. But others want it dropped.
Critics say there's so much law that students will learn most of it on the job, anyway. They see the third year as a revenue racket, a full-employment scheme for faculty that comes at the expense of non-elite school students and discourages them from taking public service jobs.
The third year, and frankly, probably most of second year, are a waste of time. It's not that there isn't plenty left to learn - it's just that you aren't going to learn it in law school. Your clients would be better served by 2 years of apprenticeships or clinical program participation. Sadly, your professors and the nice folks at the ABA wouldn't. So screw progress and efficiency, let's keep things the way they are - by all means, continue treating law school like a bastardized liberal arts college and not the trade school it should be.
[Ed.'s note: Yeah, classes start again a week from Thursday. I'm taking 12 units including Negotiation and a Film & the Law class. For the bargain basement price of around $18k. Could I be taking more substantive classes? No. Because even the ones you think will be meaty never are. Foo on American legal education.]