Law schools must meet the demands of the modern legal profession

Educators would do well to supplement the study of legal rules with practical skills training

Law school has been top of mind for me lately, even though it has been a quarter century since I earned my J.D. There are three reasons this is the case. First, I attended a milestone law school reunion this summer. Second, my oldest daughter starts law school this month. Third, the company I work for, Kaplan, plays a big role in preparing students for law school and providing them with a legal education. Kaplan not only prepares students for the LSAT and the bar exam, but it also owns and operates two law schools: Concord Law School, an online law school, and Kaplan Law School in London.

At my law school reunion, one recurrent theme arose in nearly every conversation: Did our law school education adequately prepare us for the practice of law? Looking back, my classmates and I seemed to universally agree that many skills critical to our work as lawyers were never addressed in our classrooms. We studied contracts, but not how to draft or negotiate them; corporate law, but not how to acquire a company or prepare a securities filing. We analyzed umpteen case decisions, but had little clue as to the litigation steps needed for a claim to wend its way there—or better yet, how to settle one. Law school prepared us exceptionally in the rules of law, simply not for its everyday practice.

Janice Block

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