Attack Legal Education Above the Fold and Watch the Blawgosphere Light Up!

While the blawgosphere provides its own critiques of legal education, attack this institution on the front page of a major newspaper, and suddenly swords are drawn! 

In case you missed it, the front page of last Sunday’s New York Times featured an article titled:  What They Don’t Teach Law Students:  LawyeringThe article critcizes the dearth of practical skills training in law schools and argues that this has become increasingly intolerable for employers, clients, as well a new graduates in the tight economy.  It also focuses on costs associated with rewarding production of legal scholarship rather than teaching excellence.

Some responses:

  • Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports calls the article a “hatchet job” full of cliches, inaccuracies, anti-intellectualism etc. 
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes “there’s a lot worth criticizing” in the article but finds merits in the piece as well.
  • Prawfs Blawg calls the article “A Recipe for Trashing Legal Scholarship” describing the “ingredients” as “half-baked.”

The issues here are nothing new.  Law school curriculum, especially the relatively limited focus on teaching practical lawyering skills, has long been the subject of debate.  But this debate isn’t generally highlighted on the front page of the New York Times.  Perhaps for law students, this discussion will help inform course selections or even make the time devoted to LRWA assignments seem a tiny bit less onerous?