The idea of eliminating the third year of law school picked up at least a modicum of steam with the publication of a law review article advocating that law students be allowed to take the bar exam after two years, whether or not their school requires a third year for the degree. The idea then broke into the national mainstream last week with this op-ed in the New York Times by the same authors. The piece identifies then-University of Michigan Law School professor Paul Carrington as a leading advocate for the idea in the seventies. Key passage:
[L]egal education is not, nor ever truly has been, a “one size fits all” system. We have long had varied routes to the profession. Northwestern, for example, offers an accelerated program that lets students pursue a three-year course of study in two years, allowing them to take the bar and enter the job market a year earlier. And a handful of states, including New York, allow individuals to take the bar after working for a law office for a number of years, in lieu of going to law school, though this approach is seldom used.
Some will argue that the two-year option would only create unequal classes of lawyers and glut the marketplace with attorneys who don’t have the skills and training that generations of law school graduates before them have had.We doubt this will occur.
What say you, readers? Would you have been ready for the bar exam after two years? And for those of you at U of M Law School in the seventies, what did you do to Prof. Carrington to make him think the third year was dispensable?