June 20, 2008
The Two-Year Law School
Posted by Gordon Smith

Last fall I wrote this as part of my advice to Erwin Chemerinsky:

Provide all of that improved instruction in two years. In the U.S., the pressure to move to two-year programs has been building, and, as my new dean pointed out to me recently, the globalization of law practice will increase that pressure, as American training (seven years of university education) is placed in competition with international training (five or six years of university education).

Now comes this from Northwestern University Law School:

In a move that could shake up legal education, Northwestern University School of Law plans to announce Friday that it will begin offering students a chance to get a law degree in two years instead of the traditional three.

Becoming the first top-tier law school—and the third in the country—to offer an accelerated program is the latest change at a school that is departing from the traditional focus on legal reasoning and case-law analysis to also teach skills such as accounting, teamwork and project management.

I heartily endorse these changes. Well done, Northwestern!

UPDATE: Bill has lots more detail on the program and Northwestern's innovations over the past decade, and Larry sings in Bill's choir, asking:  What about relying on the market to decide?

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