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Reforming America?s legal education: The two-year itch

January 31, 2013

LAW students have been saying for years that America?s legal education is broken. Graduates from even the best law schools are failing to find jobs. And those that do often find themselves stuck. The average student takes out more than $100,000 for law school, which is why many feel they cannot afford to leave the profession; governments and NGOs cannot pay them enough.Members of a group that benefits from the current system?the professors?have started to speak up. Paul Campos of the University of Colorado writes a blog called ?Inside the Law School Scam?. Brian Tamanaha of Washington University has published a book called ?Failing Law Schools?. And on January 18th the law school of New York University (NYU) held a discussion on a reform that would jolt the system: cutting legal education by a year.The reason for the event was a recently published article by Samuel Estreicher, a professor at NYU, entitled ?The Roosevelt-Cardozo Way: The case for bar eligibility after two years of law school?. Rules in almost every state require an undergraduate degree and then a three-year law degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. Mr Estreicher wants students to take the bar before completing their degrees, and, if they pass, letting them practise?as Benjamin Cardozo (a revered judge) and Franklin Roosevelt did before the three-year rule became universal in...

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