Thursday, September 12, 2013

Poll finds 97% of recent grads say third year of law school should be devoted to practical skills training

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog (subscription req.) has a report (and here) about a recent Kaplan Bar Review poll of 2013 law grads which found that the vast majority think legal education needs to undergo "significant change." Almost every student polled, 97%, said that means replacing esoteric third year electives like "Law and pornography" with more practical training opportunities like clinical courses.  Interestingly, while most students also said that their overall law school experience had been a positive one, some also said that they would not recommend it to someone unless they already had a job lined up.

Law Graduates Say Legal Education Needs ‘Significant Change’

[A]ccording to a new survey by Kaplan Bar Review . . . .  of 712 graduates from the class of 2013 who took Kaplan’s bar exam prep course:

  • Nearly all—87%—-said the U.S. legal education system needed to undergo “significant changes” to better prepare future lawyers for the profession at a time of rapid change and job scarcity.
  • And about 63% agreed the current three-year curriculum could be condensed into two years “without negatively impacting the practice-readiness of new attorneys.

If a third year of law school must be required, 97% of those surveyed said it should be focused on getting clinical experience (instead of taking quirky electives such as “Bloodfeuds” or “Pornography and the Law”).

. . . .

[O]ne question—what they would tell prospective law students to consider when picking a law school—drew a handful of pointed responses from some who checked the “Other” box. Among them:

  • “…cost – even with a good paying job after law school, paying off debt is tough.”
  • “Do not apply. Are you kidding me? The market is a holocaust of broken dreams and a glut of unemployed attorneys. Close some of these law schools already. There should be a moratorium.”
  • “Don’t go to law school without having a job lined up BEFORE even applying to school. [sic] the school will not help, they will only take your money and in return give you 3 years of arrogant ivy league profs. [sic] i learned more from this bar prep course than in my whole 3 years.”
  • “I wouldn’t recommend in this job market.”

Continue reading here.


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