Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

The Infamous "Most Difficult Law School Class" Poll:

I'm a law student and K is the most difficult class.
 17 (8.8%)
I'm a law student and Torts is the most difficult class.
 4 (2.1%)
I'm a law student and Crim Law is the most difficult class.
 2 (1%)
I'm a law student and Civ Pro is the most difficult class.
 23 (11.9%)
I'm a law student and Con Law is the most difficult class.
 12 (6.2%)
I'm a law student and Property is the most difficult class.
 16 (8.2%)
I'm a law student and LRW is the most difficult class.
 7 (3.6%)
I'm not a law student but I think Contracts would be the most difficult class.
 13 (6.7%)
I'm not a law student but I think Torts would be the most difficult class.
 13 (6.7%)
I'm not a law student but I think Criminal Law would be the most difficult class.
 3 (1.5%)
I'm not a law student but I think Civil Procedure would be the most difficult class.
 25 (12.9%)
I'm not a law student but I think Constitutional Law would be the most difficult class.
 14 (7.2%)
I'm not a law student but I think Property would be the most difficult class.
 18 (9.3%)
I'm not a law student but I think Legal Research & Writing would be the most difficult class.
 27 (13.9%)

Total Members Voted: 146

Author Topic: 1L's & Current Black Law Students  (Read 278470 times)

officeguy

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4801 on: June 20, 2008, 12:00:47 PM »
NU law school to offer 2-year program
Other schools predict lower-quality lawyers

By Jodi S. Cohen

Tribune reporter

June 20, 2008

In a move that could shake up legal education, Northwestern University School of Law plans to announce Friday that it will begin offering students a chance to get a law degree in two years instead of the traditional three.

Becoming the first top-tier law school—and the third in the country—to offer an accelerated program is the latest change at a school that is departing from the traditional focus on legal reasoning and case-law analysis to also teach skills such as accounting, teamwork and project management.

Law dean David Van Zandt has been considered a maverick as he reshapes the law school to more closely resemble a business school model. He encourages applicant interviews, relies on focus-group feedback from employers when rethinking the curriculum, and has praised consumer rankings as other deans have shunned them.

During Van Zandt's 13-year tenure, Northwestern's law school has climbed to No. 9 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Van Zandt's decision to add a two-year program could give the school an additional competitive advantage by attracting students who want a quicker path to a law salary.

In a profession that thrives on argument, the Northwestern change is already inspiring intense debate.

University of Chicago professor and former dean Geoffrey Stone called the two-year program "irresponsible" and said it risked producing inferior lawyers who haven't had time to develop intellectual and analytical skills.

"My sense is that compressing the educational process is likely to seriously derogate from the quality," he said. "What is lost is likely to be much more than anything that is gained by hustling the students through more quickly."

University of Illinois associate dean Lawrence Solum said students in a two-year program would have less time to explore career opportunities during the summer.

"Law school is already an extraordinarily intense experience and my gut instinct is that cramming it into fewer weeks and months is not likely to improve the quality of the education," he said. "If anything, law students already are doing too much in too few hours."

Van Zandt said he expected some criticism. "Any time you innovate, you are always going to have people who pooh-pooh it or look down their nose," he said. "Law and legal education is tremendously conservative."

The debate notwithstanding, other law schools are now likely to reconsider their programs. While the University of Dayton and Southwestern Law School already offer some version of a two-year degree, neither has the prestige nor trend-setting promise of Northwestern.

"Other schools are likely to follow," said Daniel Polsby, the George Mason University law school dean and a former Northwestern faculty member for 23 years.

"What they are doing in effect is trying to recognize where they are in the market and what kind of lives they need to be preparing their student body for," he said.

Dayton law dean Lisa Kloppenberg said her school's program, launched in 2006, already has drawn students who otherwise would not have considered the Ohio school.

The American Bar Association, which accredits the nation's 200 law schools, requires that students be enrolled for at least 24 months and take no more than 20 credits per semester.

The 25 to 60 students expected in Northwestern's accelerated program will take the same number of credits as the traditional students, which typically total 240 per class. They will squeeze the credits into five semesters by starting in the summer, taking extra courses each semester and picking up one or two credits through mini-courses between semesters.

To enter the program, the students will be required to have at least two years of work experience, already the norm for the majority of Northwestern law students. Officials have not decided whether tuition, at $42,672 for the 2007-08 academic year, will be the same for students in the two-year program, Van Zandt said.

The students will be the first to test two new required courses: quantitative reasoning, including accounting, finance and statistics; and the dynamics of legal services behavior, including skills such as teamwork, leadership and project management.

Other law schools have added elective classes focused on business and other practical knowledge, with the idea that lawyers should understand better what their clients do. But by requiring such classes, Northwestern may be able to market itself as going even further in graduating business-savvy lawyers.

"For us to be successful, we have to be producing students that the rest of the world wants. Just producing people who are great at legal analysis, they are a dime a dozen out there now," Van Zandt said. "We are trying to differentiate our students in a way that is positive."

Terri Mascherin, a partner at Jenner & Block and second vice president of the Chicago Bar Association, said lawyers in today's marketplace need a better understanding of how businesses function. She said graduates of the elite law schools can arrive unprepared to write a two-page memo, make a presentation, or work with others.

"We don't intend to put out a generation of accountants or business analysts, but we do hope to put into the workplace alumni who have a better grounding in the kinds of issues that they will face from their client's perspective," said Mascherin, a Northwestern alumna and member of one of the focus groups that helped shape the new curriculum. "Clients don't like lawyers who can spout legal analysis but can't do strategic analysis."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-two-year-lawjun20,0,5157954.story

pikey

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4802 on: June 20, 2008, 01:07:48 PM »
The 25 to 60 students expected in Northwestern's accelerated program will take the same number of credits as the traditional students, which typically total 240 per class. They will squeeze the credits into five semesters by starting in the summer, taking extra courses each semester and picking up one or two credits through mini-courses between semesters.

That sounds super stressful, especially in law school where you're graded on a curve and grades actually matter (unlike business school, where grading is a lot more lenient).  Plus law school and business school are two completely different beasts for good reasons.  I wouldn't do it.
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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4803 on: June 20, 2008, 01:09:23 PM »
An extra course or two a semester is no biggie.  Otherwise, it's like Mich's program, right?

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4804 on: July 14, 2008, 12:53:45 PM »
Wow.  So they're actually gonna do it. Wow. Law schools have been talking about this one for years.  It really could be done in two years, but if law school goes down to 2 years it loses the "prestige" of being a 3 year degree above the B-school.

I submit that law school, as a professional school, needs to be modeled more closely to med school: 2 years in the classroom, 2 years of mandatory clerkship under an attorney or judge.  That would drastically change not only the people trying to get into the profession, but in turn, change the profession itself.
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
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Eugene Young

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4805 on: July 14, 2008, 01:03:40 PM »
Wow.  So they're actually gonna do it. Wow. Law schools have been talking about this one for years.  It really could be done in two years, but if law school goes down to 2 years it loses the "prestige" of being a 3 year degree above the B-school.

I submit that law school, as a professional school, needs to be modeled more closely to med school: 2 years in the classroom, 2 years of mandatory clerkship under an attorney or judge.  That would drastically change not only the people trying to get into the profession, but in turn, change the profession itself.

Agreed.

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4806 on: July 14, 2008, 01:04:19 PM »
yeah I think the 2-year thing is a terrible idea for the profession.  An apprenticeship would be interesting, although what about the people who can't land a job as it is?  Shut down some law schools?

Eugene Young

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4807 on: July 14, 2008, 01:05:01 PM »
yeah I think the 2-year thing is a terrible idea for the profession.  An apprenticeship would be interesting, although what about the people who can't land a job as it is?  Shut down some law schools?

it would probably weed some people out.

Eugene Young

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4808 on: July 21, 2008, 04:14:10 PM »
Law school books are expensive as @#!*. that is all.

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Re: 1L's & Current Black Law Students
« Reply #4809 on: July 22, 2008, 06:37:20 PM »
Law school books are expensive as @#!*. that is all.

LOL  :D
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston