Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Legal Education At The Cross-Roads

The Oct. 31, 2007 New York Times ran a story entitled "Training Law Students For Real Life Careers" which is about a movement taking place in many law schools to reexamine what they teach and how they teach it. The article questions whether we are preparing todays generations of law students for tomorrow's problems.

I am totally against clinical education which is one of the reforms mentioned. Law School is very short. It remains my view that it is more important for students to learn how to find the law, interpret it and actually understand it than to apply it.

If you ask me the real problem is that law schools these days are more interested in hiring newly minted P.h.d's than a lawyer with several years of solid experience. They are more interested in seeing law reviews written about legal theory as opposed to a conflict in the circuits. It is more important to be cited  by the Harvard Law Review than by the Supreme Court.

Law Schools are loosing their mission to train lawyers. Is any body listening???

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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Oh, I couldn't disagree with you more. That is a half-baked education. Go back to the roots of legal education and it was founded in apprenticeship which was legal knowledge, theory and application. Clinics are vital...but for my clinical experience I would never have been able to open my own practice upon graduation. Lose the application part and you create the need for a medical school model...and that is the worst thing you could hope to do. Skills and training must be inextricably intertwined in law school or you have cheated the law students of their ability to go forth in the world and actually practice law...unless some kindly mentor takes them under their wing...or worse, mandatory post-graduation training in skills which let law schools off the hook while they put students in massive debt. Couldn't disagree with you more.

Posted by: Susan Cartier Liebel | Nov 1, 2007 4:25:54 PM

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