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.