Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Some? Should Be All

Via Yahoo News: Some Question Third Year of Law School.

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.]


Anonymous said...

Well, Monday I start my third year at about $28k. And then I just spent $500+ on books this morning. McGeorge requires more than most law schools (they've got a chip on their shoulders) and so I've got three required classes left.

I generally agree that the third year is a waste of time. Although I was looking at my potential schedule for next semester when I might get to take fun classes like Public Policy Development, Legislation, and Government Law Theory and Practice taught by State Agency fixer-upper Clark Kelso.

So maybe my third year won't be so bad. Or maybe I'll cry myself to sleep every night wondering why I decided to keep working while having to read thousands of pages a night.

Anonymous said...

My classes start next week. Probably without me. I'm taking time off from law school to work on a campaign. Even though several friends recommended I do the campaign and school by just showing up for finals I think that will be too distracting and frustrating. Being a 3L can't be that much of a joke, can it?

I'm just worried that in my absence the Regents will balance the budget on the backs of professional students a few more times and by the time I re-enroll I'll be paying private school prices. Talk about opportunity cost.

Anonymous said...

yes it absolutely can be that much of a joke. my advice: see if you can do it - keep it on the DL from profs - as if they'd notice anyway - and wait until the last possible second to officially take the semester off. i probably could've pulled it off. i'm okay with the way things worked out - but still - you're working on an '06 campaign, right? you could swing both . . . .

Anonymous said...

The debate spreads: The Volokh Conspiracy ( picked up this theme, and InstaPundit triggered an InstaLanch to the story.