f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 5, 2004

Take This Bar (Exam) And Shove It

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:01 pm

Nobody likes bar exams, so “The Georgia State University College of Law and the Georgia State Law Review held a symposium on Thursday discussing alternatives to the bar exam that students must take in order to practice law.”  See this GSU Signal article. 

dripping faucet . . .

Law.com NewsWire (02-06-04) says::

Why not practice on pretend clients? Work for the poor? Serve a one-year apprenticeship, or take a nationalized exam? A recent conference sponsored by the Georgia State University College of Law produced no shortage of alternatives to the present bar exam  The most popular inspiration: medical training.

According to the Signal article experts from the legal and medical fields made presentations, and “Lawrence M. Gosberg, a professor of law at the New York Law school and the director of the Lawyering Skills Center, proposed that law students be required to practice their skills on actors that put students in real situations and then give them feedback on their skills and approaches from a perspective different from that of a law professor.”  [An upcoming edition of the GSU Law Review will feature seven articles on this topic.]

I’m sure e&h visitors can supply a few choice suggestions of their own.  Leave Comments, but please make them Family-Friendly.

But seriously:  Only those with a stake in continuing 3-years of law school appear to believe that the current model prepares students to practice law well, or that bar exams adequately measure readiness to practice law.   Law school isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about massive amounts of memorization or “teaching to the test.”  How long does it take to learn how to “think like a lawyer” (learn to issue-spot and then master the issue) and “write like a lawyer”? 

A shorter period of school, combined with some form of “internship” or apprenticeship seems to make sense — and should greatly reduce law student debt.   Or should law licenses be limited to particular practice areas, after passing rigorous and realistic tests of the relevant skills? (See Ralph Warner’s article Restrict Lawyers’ Licenses.)


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