Readers Find Flaws With Law School
I read with interest Rick Schmitt’s March 2013 cover article, “Is Law School Worth It?”
As a 1992 law school graduate who has not practiced law in 15 years, I found the article long overdue. Law school provided me a solid foundation in key analytical areas, but it taught me no business or financial sense. I had to return to school for an MBA and then pursued a different (and more lucrative) career path.
The problem is that there are too many law schools that teach the wrong things. The American Bar Association should cut back the number of accredited schools and offer “tracks” for students to pursue business–related pathways.
Unless there is major change, the profession will be in trouble and students will continue to suffer.
This article by Rick Schmitt is the perfect sequel to Ronald Goldfarb’s review of Brian Z. Tamanaha’s book Failing Law Schools, which appeared in the February 2013 issue of Washington Lawyer.
In 1958 I graduated from an evening program of a law school in the Boston area. Soon thereafter the evening program was done away with. The reason given was the objective to improve the rating of the law school. It appeared to me that the instructors did not like the long hours, and every effort was made to get rid of the evening division by grading harshly.
Most of my classmates were employed either in family law firms or corporate patent departments, or they took other jobs where law could be a steppingstone.
When I found out that the graduating classes had student loan debt upwards of $150,000 and no job prospects, I stopped making alumni contributions.
When I retired to Portugal in 1989, my IRA had a bit more money left in it than the average law student loan debt, and I have not yet used it all up.
Radical changes are necessary.
As a current law student, Rick Schmitt’s article really hits home. While the article benefits those who are pondering law school, I would have loved to have seen Washington Lawyer address those students who are midway through their legal education. In my case, I plan to stay an extra year and get a JD/MBA in an effort to expand my marketability upon graduation. I have friends who are considering similar options.
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