Frank H. Wu, Chancellor & Dean of the UC Hastings College of the Law has written an interesting editorial, "It's Time to Rethink Law School," published on Monday, August 11, 2014 in the San Francisco Daily Journal (for which a subscription is required). A link to the article can be found here.
In the article, Wu notes that there are two schools of thought about legal education. "One insists that law schools are fundamentally fine. . . . Another contends that the educational program leading into legal practice is fundamentally flawed." Wu counts himself among those who embrace the latter view.
Most interesting to me was Wu's direct comparison with medical schools:
"A lawyer should be like a doctor. There isn't any medical school graduate who altogether lacks clinical experience. Every licensed physician has seen a live patient presenting actual symptoms before they charge anyone for a diagnosis."
Wu is not the first to make a comparison with medical schools. Professor John Flood in his article, "Doing Business: The Management of Uncertainty in Lawyers' Work" (25 Law & Soc'y Rev. 41 (1991)) contrasts law school education with medical schools.
In the end, Wu reminds us that we all need to do a better job in training future lawyers. While we should not abandon our substantive law courses, we should also provide many opportunities for students to obtain skills training. In my view, this last point should not be at all controversial.
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