Thursday, April 25, 2013

Law School Reform

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education sponsored a conference this week to brainstorm ideas for law school reform.  The National Law Journal covered the event and noted that there was no consensus.

“Some said law schools should be required to spell out the core competencies that students should develop at set points during their legal educations; others, that tuition reduction was the first priority,” the NLJ reported. “Several attendees endorsed higher teaching loads. No single idea dominated.”

Many legal education scholars have thrown around all of these ideas before.  It's time to stop talking and start doing.  We've all heard of the looming 'learning outcomes,' and tuition reduction is an obvious culprit.  Now that law school professors make more than many lawyers in the private sector, maybe it is time to up their teaching loads.

It looks like at least one law school is starting to take action by putting its money where its mouth is.  Florida Coastal School of Law "will give partial tuition refunds to qualified incoming students who flunk out after one year or who fail the bar after two tries."  This is a small step in the right direction -- the school is, in essence, standing by its education with a money back guarantee.

ABA Journal -- How to force change at law schools?

ABA Journal -- Bar passage or your money back

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