Friday, September 20, 2013

U.S. News Weekly Editorial Debate: Should Law School Be Reduced to Two Years?

This week's U.S. News Weekly (subscription required) contains another debate on whether law school should be reduced to two years.  Kyle McEntee takes the yes position, and I take the no position.

Kyle makes a number of good arguments in his editorial.  However, in reading his piece I can discern that we see the issue from different vantage points.  He emphasizes the need to reduce law school costs, while I stress the importance of increasing the quality of legal education.  I agree with Kyle that something needs to be done to reduce the costs of going to law school and the massive debt that many law graduates face.  However, I do not think that this should be done at the cost of the quality of legal education.  As Professor Matt Bodie recently remarked (here), "Choices about the required program of legal education should be based on pedagogy. . . .  If we find that a two-year J.D. provides an adequate education, then we should adopt it.  But if we reduce the quality of our legal education -- and reduce it in ways that leave lawyers less able to handle their vocations -- simply because we can find no other way to reduce the price, then shame on us."

 U.S. News has informed me that my and Kyle's pieces will run online on Septemeber 30 with a piece by Dean Daniel Rodriguez.  I will upload my editorial to my SSRN page in a couple fo weeks,

(Scott Fruehwald)

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