August 5, 2011
NYSBA Asks ABA To Consider More Law Student Skills Training
The New York Law Journal is reporting on a draft resolution presented to the American Bar Association by the New York State Bar Association that asks the ABA to consider changes to law school education requirements that would make graduates "practice ready," or something like that. The idea is to give students opportunities to interact with real-life clients with real-life problems in real-life settings. The sentiments are nice given the horrible job market out there.
Mind you, law schools don't exactly need the ABA to make changes to their programs which would give their students real world skills. I would think competition among schools for quality students might drive this as a way of addressing the current job market. Teaching skills in addition to the law might give rise to advertising campaigns that read "Want to be a scholar, go to University X. Want to be a lawyer, come here." Students would be more competitive for the jobs that do exist, or at least be more prepared to practice law on their own.
I expect the ABA to nod politely, harrumph a bit, and take the resolution under advisement. The reality of legal education and the reality of practicing law doesn't always meet in the reality of accrediting law schools. That, and the ABA seems very fond of its comfort zone when it comes to regulating law school programs. Perhaps another Senatorial letter might be in order. More on the resolution is here.[MG]