Sunday, October 9, 2011
Prominent Philadelphia Lawyer Sheldon Bonovitz has published a thoughtful article critiquing law schools and focusing on the relevance of their educational efforts to the practice of law. His main suggestions have to do with the third year, a longstanding issue debated by legal educators and other lawyers. His proposals range from abolishing it to using it for specialized training.
Yet so many of our students spend a good part of the third year in clinics, externships, and a variety of lawyering skills courses. And some 3Ls are still trying to master the fundamentals of legal analysis.
Moreover, it seems that most firms have given up on their responsibility to train their novice lawyers. They expect law schools to assume this task. That’s more than law schools are equipped to take on.
New law students mistakenly believe they're supposed to emulate the ponderous writing style of the court opinions they read for class. Instead, I'm always trying to get them to write for a hypothetical audience of third graders. Of course they resist the idea believing that keeping it simple equates with simplistic.
Au contraire, mon frere as this quote from Steve Jobs points out:
On good designThat’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]