Nicholas Spaeth is a very accomplished guy, he wants to be a tenure-track law professor, and he's suing a lot of law schools, including MSU College of Law, because he thinks he's being discriminated against on the basis of age. In the National Law Journal (subs. req.), he explains that the issue is bigger than his own quest for a job -- he wants to fundamentally change legal education by increasing the emphasis on practical skills. And he says to do that law schools need to value -- and hire -- experience and success as a practicing lawyer, and shift decisions on hiring away from faculty:
Although law schools still need to teach fundamentals like constitutional law where scholarly inclined 30-year-olds fresh out of a clerkship can focus their lives, an increasingly imperative need is for skilled and experienced practitioners teaching transaction-based classes. It is difficult to convincingly argue that a teacher who has spent his or her entire career in academe is more qualified to train transactional lawyers than those who have years of experience negotiating, documenting and closing actual business deals. Most long-term faculty members are ill-equipped to do so and likely do not fully appreciate it. They may be good scholars, but as Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. recently observed when commenting on their publications, "what the academy is doing, as far as I can tell, is largely of no use or interest to people who actually practice law." Adam Liptak, "Keep Those Briefs Brief, Literary Justice Advises," N.Y. Times, May 21, 2011, at A12.