Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Hard Law Firms and Soft Law Schools

At one time or another, most of us in the Academic Support profession occasionally scratch our heads and ask ourselves, "What is this student doing in law school?"  One professor believes the answer is rather self-evident.

Consider this provocative North Carolina Law Review article by Robert M. Lloyd, the Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Tennessee College of Law. (83 N.C.L. Rev. 667)

LloydProfessor Lloyd refers to the "vicious" competition between law firms for clients as but one example of the practice of law's evolution - from "Soft" to "Hard." 

Unfortunately, he maintains, "While the practice of law has been getting Harder, law schools have been getting Softer."  In this recent article (March, 2005) Professor Lloyd decries the proliferation of Soft courses, which "...allow students to use what Mary Ann Glendon has referred to as 'verbal acrobatics,' rather than Hard legal analysis, and we have to accept the fact that law schools attract people who prefer verbal acrobatics to rigorous analysis."  What are verbal acrobatics?  "The term Professor Glendon uses is 'verbal acrobats,' describing those who engage in the practice ... Those who are less charitable call it 'bullshit.'"  (fn. 64)

The "verbal acrobats" are pursued by law school admissions offices, Professor Lloyd explains: "...numbers-driven admissions policies most law schools use screen out the very students we need to give our classes a better leavening of people with strong analytical skills. ... The admissions process fills law schools with students who have weak analytical skills."

Do you agree with Professor Lloyd?  (djt)

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