Six Suggestions for Law School Reform

The New Republic recently published an article regarding potential reform to the law school dynamic. These six proclaimed experts echo some unsurprising suggestions.

  • Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University, suggests making the third year of traditional three-year law school model an optional experience, focusing on practical experience.
  • Mike Kinsley, editor-at-large at The New Republic, promotes professors moving away from the Socratic Method in favor of more experiential instructional methods.
  • Paul Campos, professor of law at the University of Colorado Law at Boulder, warns against the burgeoning debt that law students are incurring in pursuit of entering into the profession by saying that there should be a upper limit to educational loans for law students and that the cost of law school should be what it was a generation ago.
  • Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate, promotes less students attending law school (and more students dropping out).
  • David Lat, founder and managing editor of Above the Law, advocates for a mandatory post-college break before entering into law school to permit potential law students to examine the possibilities and ensure that law school is the best course of action.
  • Mark Chandler, general counsel at Cisco Systems, urges for interns to be paid and earn class credit for their internships.

One Response

  1. The suggestion for law faculty to use less Socratic Method and more experiential instructional teaching methods in the classroom strikes a realistic note. At UMass Law we have begun to do just that. This year the Legal Skills Director is piloting a program whereby his 3d semester section will team up with a local agency to assist on a research project tied to a particular case. In this and other similar programs students, even early on in law school, are being exposed to live cases and clients, get interviewing and counseling experience, and benefit from the client’s feedback. Students at other schools are producing “white papers” on specific topics for non profit organizations. These are just a couple of ways in which law students can begin to “act like lawyers” in addition to being taught to “think like lawyers,” that all too common platitude.

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