The National Law Journal has launched a new blog, Law School Review, dedicated to discussing “the current state and future of legal education.” Commentators include Brian Tamanaha of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (who also writes about law school reform on the blog Balkinization), and Erwin Chemerinski of the University of California, Irvine School of law. The blog is already tackling some of the hot button issues related to legal education, such as whether federal loans improve access to legal careers or merely drive up costs, and the American Bar Association’s role in governing law schools.
The discussion is necessarily dominated by the academy, as any real change in the legal education system will have to be carried out by the deans and professors who run U.S. law schools. But Law School Review’s list of contributors also includes Kyle McEntree, a 2011 graduate of Vanderbuilt University Law School and the executive director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit group that seeks to improve the way law schools report employment information and other statistics to potential students. McEntree’s contributions are important to a conversation about legal education reform at a time when the costs of a J.D. are higher than ever. The blog has also included input from guest writers, including recent law school graduates.
One perspective thus far missing from the dialogue at Law School Review is that of the private legal industry. It would be interesting to hear from law firms, large and small, as well as corporate law departments, on the question of whether law schools are preparing students for their careers. Given recent debates in the industry about training new lawyers, it seems an industry perspective is essential to any serious conversation on legal education reform.
Posted by Emily Fisher