Is a Third Year of Law School Necessary?

Samuel Estreicher, an NYU law professor, believes it is the right time to reform the legal profession. Skyrocketing law school tuition and diminishing job prospects for new lawyers make it imperative to change the way lawyers are educated.

“People have been asking for years: ‘Do we really need a third year of law school?’” said Estreicher, co-director of NYU’s Institute of Judicial Administration. “I’m simply proposing that we give students a choice to stay for three years or leave after two. The economic downturn is a big part of it.”

He thinks other states would follow New York’s example but expects pushback from law schools.

“It’s unlikely that the way to prepare our students for a toughened competition, global and otherwise, is to assure they are less fully educated than their predecessors of the past 75 years,” said University of North Carolina School of Law professor Gene Nichol.

Estreicher’s proposal, “The Roosevelt-Cardozo Way: The Case for Bar Eligibility After Two Years of Law School,” was published in the New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. He argued that the two-year option would reduce the cost of law school by a third, which in turn would reduce student loan debt so that graduates could take jobs representing low-income clients.

For more on this story from The National Law Journal, please click here.


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