Get Your J.D. in Two Years!
David Lat is the founding editor of Above the Law. He previously served as editor of Wonkette, the widely read politics blog, and he founded Underneath Their Robes, the judicial news and gossip website.
Prior to that, David worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
David graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and Yale Law School, where he served as book reviews editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Question: Do you think law school should be two years instead of three?
David Lat: I probably want to think a little bit more about the issue. But right now, my gut instinct is law school could be shorter. I think that you could probably get away with two years and then have perhaps some kind of apprenticeship program where lawyers might go to law firms and receive a somewhat lower salary than they do now, but be focused on training and professional development without having to worry about billing hours. So this is something we're seeing from a couple of firms that are already trying this. I think that law school does need to be shorter and less expensive.
Now, the law schools don't like to hear this because oftentimes law schools generate a lot of revenue for their universities. Law schools are often cash cows. It doesn't tend to be a very capital-intensive kind of education. It's not like you have to create multimillion dollar laboratories and you can charge an arm and a leg for it. But now that the law firms are having a hard time giving people jobs – the jobs that with the lucrative year-end bonuses would help people pay off law school loans very quickly – the law schools, I think, need to rethink their business model, too. So I think that if law firms need to become more efficient at delivering legal services, law schools need to become more efficient at delivering legal education to people.
Recorded on November 6, 2009
Because law schools are cash cows for universities, shortening the time it takes to get a degree is a subject institutions have always avoided.
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.
Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you.
Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club
- Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
- It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
- This ability may come from a common ancestor
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