Here are some questions that I’ve been pondering, and the mobblog gives me an opportunity to ask them — and hope that one or more people will jump in with their thoughts:
Does legal education today offer any distinct value to students and society aside from its function as a signaling and sorting device? Why not ship our JD students to business schools (which themselves are problematic aside from signaling and sorting, but set that notion momentarily aside), and retain only those who will appear before dispute resolution tribunals or the Patent Office?
Why not offer undergraduate and graduate legal education programs in the same school?
Should law schools take over their law journals, with faculty managing and students doing citechecking and production?
If law schools took globalization seriously, what would they look like?
If law schools took networked communications technology seriously, what would they look like?
If law schools took their embeddedness in local communities seriously, what would they look like?
Does legal education today offer any distinct value to students and society aside from its function as a signaling and sorting device?
I think the answer to this is unquestionably yes. I don’t have much more to go on than my own experience as a student (and wishful thinking about my experience as a professor), but even at one of the least practice-oriented law schools in the country, I learned an awful lot about the law, how to do legal research, and how to make legal arguments.
An example I frequently cite to my first-year students who may be feeling at sea: when I started law school, I had no idea that there were two separate court systems, federal and state. If I was typical in that respect, then certainly there’s a lot of value to at least a couple of years of law school classes.