Today’s NYT has a lengthy front-page article on legal education suggesting that a major problem with legal education is the failure to teach law students how to practice law. There is something to this complaint — some schools and some legal academics do relatively little to prepare their students for practice and there is much relatively worthless legal scholarship — but the article overstates the case, fails to identify workable alternatives, and makes various errors about legal education and scholarship along the way. For instance, the article identifies a philosophy paper, published in a philosophy journal, as an example of how legal scholarship is divorced from legal practice. The article simultaneously harps on the high cost of legal education and suggests more clinical education is a good way to help prepare law students to practice law. Yet the article makes no mention of the fact that clinical education is more expensive than traditional doctrine-oriented classes.
For more on the article, see these comments from Matt Bodie, Brian Leiter, Jason Mazzone, and Larry Ribstein. As Ribstein notes, if one really wants to understand what’s going in on legal education, the good and the bad, one’s better off reading legal bloggers than the NYT.
UPDATE: Leiter has a fuller response to the article here, and Orin comments above.