Thursday, March 13, 2008

Washington and Lee Cuts Class for its 3L's

A commentator in an earlier post asks: what's wrong with the current structure of legal education?

The Dean at Washington and Lee, supported by a unanimous faculty, answer that question thusly: "For some time, members of the legal profession, practitioners, judges and scholars alike, have urged law schools to place greater emphasis on professionalism and learning in context."

His solution? Replace the entire third year curriculum with "experiential" learning, including actual interactions with clients. It's being implemented as we speak.

Here are his words, a National Law Journal article, and a WSJ Law Blog post.

3L status remains far, far over the horizon for this chap. But, which should I value more: the opportunity finally play lawyer, or the opportunity to finally take Wine Law?

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5 Comments:

Blogger MRP said...

Take Wine Law. You're going to be a lawyer for the rest of your life, why rush to stop being a law student?

3/13/2008 7:51 AM  
Blogger matt said...

I was going to say exactly what MRP said. We have our entire lives to be lawyers. We only have these three years to take wine law. Unless we become wine lawyers. (Which should be distinguished from whine-lawyers.) Of course, I say all this being far from my 3L year, too.

3/13/2008 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's great if law schools start experimenting like that. if they had different approaches then people who have different learning styles could pick a school that fits them.

is the faculty really good enough at doing law that they can teach it? maybe the program could be optional, or maybe just let their students extern for the whole year at a firm or for a judge, if they really want work experience (as opposed to pretend work experience). or if the point of 3L is now to get real world style work experience, then make the third year optional. let them earn some real money and get real work experience. why would pretend working for professors be better than real working for real lawyers and real judges?

3/13/2008 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 2L, I think 3 years of courses is a good thing. I think with the combination of required courses, courses in my area of interest, and useful bar courses, I am going to be able to fill 3 years of courses without much problem.

3/13/2008 8:59 PM  
Blogger AngryBell said...

Take the opportunity to play lawyer. Think of it this way, do you want to learn on the job when your career hangs in the balance and people expect that shiny J.D. after your name to mean that you are qualified to do legal tasks? Or do you want to put yourself in a position to apprentice to someone who may be able to pass on tricks of the trade for "how things really work" in the legal field.

In my opinion, law school does not prepare you to do actual legal work. On a good day, it may teach you to think like one. However, thinking like one, and knowing how to apply that knowledge are two different things.

3/13/2008 11:42 PM  

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