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Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
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Vitriol Offline
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Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
From: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/o...e/?hp&_r=0

Quote:Obama Says Law School Should Be Two, Not Three, Years

By PETER LATTMAN

President Obama urged law schools on Friday to consider cutting a year of classroom instruction, wading into a hotly debated issue inside the beleaguered legal academy.

“This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck. I am in my second term, so I can say it,” Mr. Obama said at a town hall-style meeting at Binghamton University in New York. “I believe that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years.”

The president’s surprising remarks, made while discussing how to make education more affordable, come at a time of crisis for law schools. With an increasing number of graduates struggling with soaring tuition costs, heavy student debt and a difficult job market, a growing number of professors and administrators are pushing for broad reforms in legal education.

“We academics toil in the wilderness,” said Samuel Estreicher, a professor at the New York University School of Law leading a movement to permit students to take the bar exam and practice after two years. “It is great to have the president join the cause.”

Mr. Obama has plenty of credibility inside the legal world. After graduating from Harvard Law School, where he served as the president of the Harvard Law Review, he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago from 1992 until his election to the Senate in 2004.

On Friday, he questioned the utility of a third year of classes and suggested that students use their final two semesters to gain work experience. “In the first two years, young people are learning in the classroom,” Mr. Obama said. “The third year, they’d be better off clerking or practicing in a firm even if they weren’t getting paid that much, but that step alone would reduce the costs for the student.”

He acknowledged that eliminating a third year could possibly hurt a law school’s finances and ability to maintain a strong faculty. “Now, the question is,” Mr. Obama said, “can law schools maintain quality and keep good professors and sustain themselves without that third year? My suspicion is, is that if they thought creatively about it, they probably could.”

The president was preaching to a growing choir of law school faculty.

Earlier this year, New York University held a symposium on reforming law school. Professor Estreicher argued that making the third year optional would reduce the cost of a legal education while encouraging clinical work outside the classroom. The school recently revamped its third-year curriculum with a focus on foreign study and specialized concentrations.

William D. Henderson, an Indiana University law professor who has also pushed for changes, welcomed Mr. Obama’s remarks. But he expressed relief that law school wasn’t two years when he attended the University of Chicago, graduating in 2001.

“I took Obama’s class in my third year,” Mr. Henderson wrote in an e-mail. “I would have missed out!”

The second and third years of law school are like being a senior in high school or college who has all the required classes completed and just takes a few electives and fucks around.
08-24-2013 12:21 PM
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Merenguero Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Law school should be a month. You can easily learn what you have to in one month and the three-year process is just a big waste of time. I use family law, criminal law, constitutional criminal procedure, and civil procedure of the state in which I practice every day. Nothing else is at all necessary for me and I never even think about it.
08-24-2013 12:31 PM
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jimukr104 Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
i actually think we would have more drs if they speeded up the training... don't require all those humanities classes,etc..its not like dr's have good bedside manners anyhow
08-24-2013 12:35 PM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Cost of acquiring a law degree goes down -> more people get law degrees -> legal wages go down, legal unemployment goes up.

Alone, this reform is of little help. You must either raise demand for legal services or cut the supply of legal labour. Raising demand means creating more laws, i.e. sucking away resources from the private sector and creating more government.

Real reform comes in cutting the number of new lawyers. You could cut federal loans to law students, require that law schools inform applicants about their often horrid career placement rates, impose an LSAT minimum for entry, etc.

The problem with lawyers is that they aren't masseuses. If a masseuse has trouble finding work, at worst she becomes a hooker. Or just gives out lots of cheap massages. A lawyer out of work may resort to filing frivolous lawsuits and otherwise gaming the legal system and wasting taxpayer dollars.
08-24-2013 12:57 PM
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Tuthmosis Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Law school should be a week.

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08-24-2013 01:03 PM
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MattW Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Law is an undergrad degree in a lot of other countries, and I think it should be in the US as well.
08-24-2013 01:11 PM
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Tuthmosis Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 12:57 PM)basilransom Wrote:  Cost of acquiring a law degree goes down -> more people get law degrees -> legal wages go down, legal unemployment goes up.

....

Real reform comes in cutting the number of new lawyers.

This sounds like some socialist-communist-fascist-NPR-democrat-Obama-liberal media-George Soros-hippie-occupy-Rachel Maddow-MSNBC-bureaucracy-welfare-nanny state government regulation, man.

Let the free hand of the market correct this problem! Wink

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08-24-2013 01:32 PM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 12:31 PM)Merenguero Wrote:  Law school should be a month. You can easily learn what you have to in one month and the three-year process is just a big waste of time. I use family law, criminal law, constitutional criminal procedure, and civil procedure of the state in which I practice every day. Nothing else is at all necessary for me and I never even think about it.

It took you longer than a month to internalize how to do legal research. You just don't remember it because it's been long enough to be second nature by now; sort of a retroactive mental foreshortening.

Legal education should be three years: one for the common classes everyone takes, one for a specific specialty or advanced work, and one entirely devoted to practical classes and clinics that can be fulfilled by the internships Obama is discussing. Clinics are wonderful: you're essentially doing pro bono real lawyer work.

On the other end, there needs to be an enormous culling of the legal academic world. LSAT minimum? That's one good idea. A better one would be a revocation of accreditation for at least half the schools out there. I would leave the T14 plus one public school in each state or major metropolitan area.

The bar exam should also be harder. It's a joke.
08-24-2013 01:56 PM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
"Let the free hand of the market correct this problem! "

The government did ultimately create the problem, or at least amplify it. Federal loans, manufacturing thousands of Byzantine regulations, allowing frivolous lawsuits to go forward, requirement in many states that one go to law school to practice instead of apprenticing. Stricter disclosure rules aren't anti-free market per se either.
08-24-2013 01:59 PM
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Tuthmosis Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 01:59 PM)basilransom Wrote:  The government did ultimately create the problem, or at least amplify it. Federal loans, manufacturing thousands of Byzantine regulations, allowing frivolous lawsuits to go forward, requirement in many states that one go to law school to practice instead of apprenticing. Stricter disclosure rules aren't anti-free market per se either.

One of the greatest follies we made as a society was pushing everyone into a white-collar world--this idea that "everyone should go to college"--as if everyone is pre-disposed to sit quietly in a classroom or behind a desk. The proud, invaluable trades and crafts (taught, for example, in shop classes in high schools everywhere once upon a time) are gone forever.

People who have no business being inside of a college classroom would often thrive in the mechanical arts.

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08-24-2013 02:20 PM
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soup Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 02:20 PM)Tuthmosis Wrote:  
(08-24-2013 01:59 PM)basilransom Wrote:  The government did ultimately create the problem, or at least amplify it. Federal loans, manufacturing thousands of Byzantine regulations, allowing frivolous lawsuits to go forward, requirement in many states that one go to law school to practice instead of apprenticing. Stricter disclosure rules aren't anti-free market per se either.

One of the greatest follies we made as a society was pushing everyone into a white-collar world--this idea that "everyone should go to college"--as if everyone is pre-disposed to sit quietly in a classroom or behind a desk. The proud, invaluable trades and crafts (taught, for example, in shop classes in high schools everywhere once upon a time) are gone forever.

People who have no business being inside of a college classroom would often thrive in the mechanical arts.

I have a friend who runs a charter school in any ghetto and says the exact same thing. It's the higher learning industry that benefits from everyone going to college, regardless of whether or not it is good for society. It's not some altruistic thing. I'm sure they lobby with a lot of money to promote that interest.
08-24-2013 02:23 PM
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Hades Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
If they want to cut costs then get rid of worthless shit degrees (and fire entire departments of teachers), problem solved. My college had three thousand students and only twelve of them enrolled in the entire physics department.

Then practically nobody will go to college and costs will drop.
I also support lawyers having a required minimum on the LSAT, the last thing we need is more lawyers.
(This post was last modified: 08-24-2013 02:26 PM by Hades.)
08-24-2013 02:25 PM
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scorpion Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Yeah, because when I look around in the United States, I definitely think to myself, "Man, we really don't have enough lawyers here. This place could use more lawsuits."

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
08-24-2013 02:29 PM
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MHaes Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Germany really has a great educational system set up. If you do not pass certain requirements in middle school, you do not get to continue on the college track. Instead, you go to a trade school after two years of high school, and have a job waiting for you afterwards.

However, if you do poorly in the middle school placement process they will give you a second chance after your two years of high school to retake that college track placement track.

Higher education is free, and school time is also greatly reduced in Germany - for example, med school is a 6 year process in all whereas in the US its a 12 year process.

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08-24-2013 02:37 PM
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Kingsley Davis Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 02:29 PM)scorpion Wrote:  Yeah, because when I look around in the United States, I definitely think to myself, "Man, we really don't have enough lawyers here. This place could use more lawsuits."

"You Sir obviously never set foot in Dork Central (DC)".

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08-24-2013 02:38 PM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 02:25 PM)Hades Wrote:  I also support lawyers having a required minimum on the LSAT, the last thing we need is more lawyers.

(08-24-2013 02:37 PM)MHaes Wrote:  Germany really has a great educational system set up. If you do not pass certain requirements in middle school, you do not get to continue on the college track.

It's probably illegal for the government to implement that. Ethnic groups in America vary in test scores and passing rates, so setting entrance requirements based on them would yield a system that looks racially segregated.

Quote:Very Few Blacks Score at the Highest Levels of the Law School Admission Test

In 1998 the mean score of white students taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) was 151.96. (The LSAT is graded on a scoring scale of 120 to 180.) The mean score for black students taking the test that year was 141.80, about 17 percent lower than the mean score of whites.

The latest data shows a slight improvement for both blacks and whites, but there was no progress in closing the racial scoring gap. In 2004 the mean score for whites on the LSAT was 152.47. For blacks, the mean score was 142.43. The 10 point, or 17 percent, scoring gap has remained constant throughout the period with only very minor fluctuations.

Students seeking admission to the nation's highest-ranked law schools such as Yale, Harvard, and Stanford have a mean LSAT score of about 170. Data obtained by JBHE from the Law School Admission Council shows that very few blacks nationwide score at this level.

In 2004, 10,370 blacks took the LSAT examination. Only 29 blacks, or 0.3 percent of all LSAT test takers, scored 170 or above. In contrast, more than 1,900 white test takers scored 170 or above on the LSAT. They made up 3.1 percent of all white test takers. Thus whites were more than 10 times as likely as blacks to score 170 or above on the LSAT. There were 66 times as many whites as blacks who scored 170 or above on the test.

Even if we drop the scoring level to 165, a level equal to the mean score of students enrolling at law schools ranked in the top 10 nationwide but not at the very top, we still find very few blacks. There were 108 blacks scoring 165 or better on the LSAT in 2004. They made up 1 percent of all black test takers. For whites, there were 6,689 test takers who scored 165 or above. They made up 10.6 percent of all white students who took the LSAT examination.

The nation's top law schools could fill their classes exclusively with students who scored 165 or above on the LSAT. But if they were to do so, these law schools would have almost no black students.

Source . Whatever an applicant's race, you're doing him a disservice if you admit him to law school when there are high odds he'll fail the bar exam.

Employment checks for criminal records have come under similar government scrutiny: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...55020.html
(This post was last modified: 08-24-2013 03:15 PM by Basil Ransom.)
08-24-2013 03:13 PM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Great points about race, basilransom.

I encountered this in CRT. A common complaint was that black LSAT scores were lower and blacks tended to take lower-paying jobs with less prestige after graduation.

As I pointed out in class, affirmative action at the collegiate level is foolish precisely because it is an incredibly weak salve for a problem so huge that it actually hurts the people it purports to help. Blacks don't suddenly come into existence at age 18 with a HS diploma, why are we waiting till college to promote them beyond their capabilities?

Uncomfortable discussion ensues in which a terribly divided class - with, interestingly, all white women and a Arab simp disagreeing with me and a handful of minorities expressing the idea AA would be unnecessary if we invested more in education for the youth, agreeing with me.

We eventually had a terribly revealing activity in which we had to play the role of admissions officers and implement an AA scheme. I made the mistake of pointing out that AA schemes favor more talented whites, as comparable whites were less likely of getting admitted over their minority counterparts. I pissed off the class because how good of a school mattered to me and the professor refused to rank the school. I would not want to burden a minority with large sums of debt for a degree that might be worthless.

In sum, AA is very much about helping whites feel better about themselves as racial saviors of blacks from the clutches of racially exclusive institutions. AA for law schools, at this stage in the game, is ridiculous - especially at 3rd or 4th tier schools.

Per Roosh's rule, no more race threads so I scrapped my post about CRT, AA and why it hurts blacks because the educational system fosters narcissism in black folk.

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08-24-2013 03:44 PM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Law school is not necessary. Source: I went to law school.
08-24-2013 05:51 PM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
There are already law schools that have two year programs. It's an intensive program that goes without a summer break. It makes sense because the third year is just choosing electives and all the core subjects have been covered in the first two years. It is usually an option taken by people who had a previous career.

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08-24-2013 09:12 PM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
(08-24-2013 01:32 PM)Tuthmosis Wrote:  This sounds like some socialist-communist-fascist-NPR-democrat-Obama-liberal media-George Soros-hippie-occupy-Rachel Maddow-MSNBC-bureaucracy-welfare-nanny state government regulation, man.

Let the free hand of the market correct this problem! Wink

Yes.

Rolling back previously existing socialism/communism/fascism/liberalism isn't imposing more of it.
08-25-2013 12:27 AM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
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08-25-2013 01:53 AM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
In most of the world the law degree is treated about the same as an undergrad accounting degree. You get one and then have to work for a company to get certified (mixture of apprenticeship and exams).

If you don't get a training contract with a company, then it's just like a accounting, finance, etc. degree. Meaning, you have the knowledge but you're not registered as CPA/ACA. You don't lose as much money as the US JD and if you realize you don't want to or can't practice law, you don't have the crippling debt.

I think that would reduce the problem of using law school as the default, "i dont know what to do after college" option. By kicking the major down to the undergard level, people would have a chance to see if they like it. And if they can't get a job, then they can still career switch into another area since employers structure the undergrad internships/entry level jobs such that major doesnt matter too much.
(This post was last modified: 08-25-2013 08:58 AM by cibo.)
08-25-2013 08:56 AM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Obama has a point.

I went to law school myself.
08-25-2013 09:16 AM
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RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
See link:
http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/t...l_con.html

Quote:August 25, 2013
The Law School Con
By Charles Cooper & Thane Messinger


In a recent article, "The Law School Crisis," author Ben Taylor conveniently dismisses the entire law school reform movement with three simplistic points. Yet so incorrect were his assumptions and conclusions that the article must not go unanswered.

Taylor's first point, that reform advocates fail to place proper emphasis on the current economic slowdown, is incorrect. We are well aware that the weak economy affects opportunities for law graduates. Taylor misses the real issue: it's not that the economy slowed, but that the legal profession changed, structurally and permanently, as a result. In the recent downturn, the law firm model was shattered, not merely temporarily downsized. Clients discovered they could demand lower rates and higher efficiency as firms hustled for business, and firms no longer needed vast numbers of entry-level attorneys at indefensibly high salaries to perform expensive busywork. Firms axed attorneys ferociously, and as the economy rebounds anemically, there has been (and will be) no return to pre-crash hiring of permanent, expensive associate attorneys. Taylor wrongly assumes that clients will suddenly agree to again pay more for legal work that the downturn has shown can be done effectively at a lower cost, or will want to return to the inefficient practices of the past, where firms hired thousands of new graduates, all dead weight for their first few years of practice, trained on the client's dime.

The picture for smaller firms and solo practitioners is even worse. Their bread-and-butter clients realized they could skip the expensive lawyer route almost entirely. Wills, sales contracts, incorporation, and other routine business matters can be done for a fraction of the cost via DIY legal websites, more quickly and, on balance, as competently as if performed by an attorney, yet without the inconvenience of having to visit an attorney's office and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. Clients who still insist on the services of a firm are in a position to shop around, pitting lawyer against lawyer, and with high levels of lawyer underemployment and unemployment, and vast pools of starvation-level solo practitioners, there is no shortage of attorneys who will undercut market rates -- rates that will never recover.

Taylor's second point -- that law school reform advocates "tend to focus on the youngest law graduates, who have only had a few years to find a respectable job ... [and] it takes time to build a legal career and to assemble a track record of solid work and experience at top firms" -- is specious if not laughable. Most reform advocates fully understand that finding a suitable job as a practicing lawyer takes time -- but more than that, it requires a start, which in turn usually requires a healthy dose of luck or family connections. The truth is that if one fails to find a good law job before or within a short time following graduation, the chance of ever finding such a position diminishes precipitously. If not hired within one year of graduating, the chance of ever finding any job practicing law falls close to zero: a brand-new graduating class, with twice as many new graduates as there are jobs, will enter the hiring process without the stigma of unemployed staleness. Why buy last year's model?

Of course looking at attorneys ten or twenty years out will reveal a rosy professional picture. Those are the ones, the few, who succeeded, not the average law graduate. Today, fifty percent will never practice law even in the short term, let alone as a career. Law is a profession as brutal as nature itself; for every successful long-term lawyer, there are dozens who fell by the wayside. Exactly how does Taylor see these unemployed graduates jumping from the early years of near-sweatshop "document review," unemployment, and underemployment into lucrative careers? Where are they acquiring the necessary grounding, the raw legal experience? Where are they networking and building (or inheriting) their books of business -- an absolute requirement for success as a lawyer in private practice, and perhaps the single most important factor in succeeding in the legal profession? The first few years of a legal career are exactly where our focus should lie, because that is where careers are made, or not.

His final point -- that law school reformers lump all law schools into one group, both good and bad -- is simply untrue, especially for serious critics. For example, in our recent book, Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century, Thane Messinger and I take great care to explain (repeatedly) that we are writing about not the top ten law schools -- not even the top twenty-five law schools -- but rather the bottom hundred or so law schools that have dismal employment statistics and which rarely launch stellar legal careers (or, now, any legal careers at all). Even one of the most prominent, outspoken, and effective reform activists, Nando at the blog "Third Tier Reality," includes the following words on the front page of his site: "Do not attend unless ... you get into a top 8 law school," a statement that concedes that there are some good options in legal education. Another prominent critic of legal education, Professor Paul Campos, explains clearly in his book, Don't Go To Law School (Unless), that top law schools do provide career opportunities; low-ranked law schools are where the problems arise. We, as a movement, openly and widely acknowledge that attending a Harvard, a Yale, or another household-name school can and likely will provide access to a real legal career.

Advocates for law school reform aren't asking much. While meaningful reform would include the closure of underperforming law schools to reduce the grotesque oversupply of graduates, capping student loans for legal education to reduce costs, and removing bankruptcy protections for student lenders to "encourage" responsible student lending, a good start would be a conversation about law school -- and higher education as a whole -- that is honest and based upon reality and fact, rather than myth, outdated beliefs, and manipulated data that would make Wall Street blush. That alone, and the realization that law school is overpriced, underperforming, and outdated, and that the inside of today's legal profession is a far cry from the prestigious, stable, lucrative, and elite exterior it presents, will go a long way to forcing much-needed change -- change that law schools and the ABA continue to inexplicably* oppose.
(* Well, not really. The reason is money.)

Charles Cooper is the author, along with Thane Messinger, of Con Law: Avoiding...or Beating...the Scam of the Century (The Real Student's Guide to Law School and the Legal Profession), in addition to being the moderator at Nontradlaw.net, contributing writer at the blog "Outside the Law School Scam," and the author of Later-in-Life Lawyers. He can be contacted at [email protected]


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/t...z2cwRGyd9h
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08-25-2013 09:41 AM
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Vitriol Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Obama says Law School should be two, not three years
Quote:Taylor's second point -- that law school reform advocates "tend to focus on the youngest law graduates, who have only had a few years to find a respectable job ... [and] it takes time to build a legal career and to assemble a track record of solid work and experience at top firms" -- is specious if not laughable. Most reform advocates fully understand that finding a suitable job as a practicing lawyer takes time -- but more than that, it requires a start, which in turn usually requires a healthy dose of luck or family connections. The truth is that if one fails to find a good law job before or within a short time following graduation, the chance of ever finding such a position diminishes precipitously. If not hired within one year of graduating, the chance of ever finding any job practicing law falls close to zero: a brand-new graduating class, with twice as many new graduates as there are jobs, will enter the hiring process without the stigma of unemployed staleness. Why buy last year's model?

Of course looking at attorneys ten or twenty years out will reveal a rosy professional picture. Those are the ones, the few, who succeeded, not the average law graduate. Today, fifty percent will never practice law even in the short term, let alone as a career. Law is a profession as brutal as nature itself; for every successful long-term lawyer, there are dozens who fell by the wayside. Exactly how does Taylor see these unemployed graduates jumping from the early years of near-sweatshop "document review," unemployment, and underemployment into lucrative careers? Where are they acquiring the necessary grounding, the raw legal experience? Where are they networking and building (or inheriting) their books of business -- an absolute requirement for success as a lawyer in private practice, and perhaps the single most important factor in succeeding in the legal profession? The first few years of a legal career are exactly where our focus should lie, because that is where careers are made, or not.

This is an important point that I don't often see discussed. For most people who have entered the legal profession recently or are in law school now, choosing NOT to practice law is probably the most rational choice to make once you figure this out. You can cut your losses and enter into another profession, minimizing the amount of time wasted and financial waste, or you can bounce around between document review, low paying legal jobs that usually still require long hours, or spells of unemployment. If you choose the latter, there's a good chance you're never going to end up practicing law anyway and you'll eventually have to use your skills somewhere else to make money, only difference is that you've invested a few more years into something that was a lost cause.
08-25-2013 10:40 AM
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