Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Massachusetts bar task force says third year of law school should focus more on practical training

And that in general, law schools should do more throughout the curriculum to provide a more practical education including more opportunities to practice legal writing after the first year. The ABA Journal Blog has the story.

Mass. Bar Task Force: Legal Education Could Take a Page from Medical Education’s Book

The Massachusetts Bar Association's Task Force on the Law, the Economy and Underemployment released a report last week exploring the causes of and solutions for underemployment of law school graduates.

The task force, made up of 12 licensed lawyers, one law student and one university pre-law adviser devoted six months to the report, titled "Beginning the Conversation" (PDF) and focused to a certain extent on how law schools contribute to the problem.

. . . .

The third year of law school should focus more on practical training, the report said. “The task force recommends that the MBA encourage Bay State law schools to reinvent the third year so as to provide greater opportunities for law students to gain practical legal experience and expand opportunities to hone their legal writing skills, beyond that offered through traditional first-year legal writing programs.”

Task force co-chair Eric Parker of Boston-based Parker Scheer told Boston Business Journal that it's no wonder that physicians and dentists graduate ready to earn. “They have marketable skills that people want to pay for. By contrast, we found that law graduates come out with a generic exposure to legal theory and lack the experience and practical training that converts into a marketable skill.”

The report also recommends the creation of a legal residency program. "In such a program, recent law school graduates could apply for legal residency positions with Massachusetts law firms participating in residency training."

You can read what the task force has to say about the relationship between law school admission policies and the number of unemployed law grads by clicking here.



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