Do you remember that annoying co-worker who’d blame anyone but himself? When an order was wrong, he’d immediately point the finger at his manager or a customer. Or how about that student in your group project who always assumed he was right. He couldn’t even conceive that he might not have an answer, let alone be wrong. Both pretty frustrating, right? According to according to law school professor Joseph Marino, that is exactly how law school administrators are acting.
In an Above the Law article, Marino states, “Law schools have not taken responsibility for what is happening and are quick to cite reasons beyond their control.” Marino acknowledges that some law schools are doing the “right thing” in cutting the length of law school from three years to two years and drastically decreasing tuition costs. But he also states that is simply a “repackaging” and law schools as a whole need revamping.
The high cost of law school, coupled with large debt and a tough job market, has placed American legal education at a crossroads. And Marino says how and if law schools adapt will determine if law schools survive. Instead of blaming factors like the economy, Marino contends law schools should change education to teach law students how to use their degrees to earn a living in today’s economy.
Marino goes on to point out that there are growing markets for attorneys (like technology) and law schools should begin preparing students for those markets. He also cites the emerging fields of energy law, regulatory law, and health care law as booming markets in desperate need of talented, specialized attorneys.
The field of law is not disappearing—it’s changing. Marino joins other law professors in pointing out that there is just as much of a need for lawyers now as there has ever been (maybe more). But it is going to take more than just tuition cuts. It will take a change in preparing future lawyers. The enrollment figures might resemble 1973 but that does not mean legal education should also resemble 1973. It is the age of “Obamacare,” intellectual theft, and tech giants. And it is an age in dire need of intelligent and well-trained people to regulate it all.
Source: Above The Law
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