I wanted to add my voice to that of my colleague, John McGinnis, who has posted on Law and Liberty about legal education, and, in particular, the one-size-fits-all approach to training lawyers on the part of the Association of American Law Schools. As John noted:
Lawyers working on the latest mergers at Wachtell, Lipton are performing substantially different functions from those writing typical wills or handling landlord-tenant disputes. Legal education should reflect the heterogeneity of the profession which it serves.
John criticized, in particular the AALS’s opposition to “replacing over time some tenured professors with practitioners.” He observed that the practical training many lawyers need can just as easily be provided by practitioners as by professors at law schools “try[ing] to resemble junior varsity Yales in devoting very substantial resources to the production of scholarship.”
It is now notorious that much, if not most, legal scholarship is only read by law professors, and as Chief Justice John Roberts and retiring Court of Appeals judge Richard Posner have both recently observed, is of no use to judges, let alone practitioners. I think, though, that while we’re at it, we might do well to consider more radically reforming legal education.