Smith on the ABA Section on Legal Education

Gordon Smith has a really good post responding to a series of “thought papers” from the ABA Section on Legal Education — Out of the Box Committee.  Two key paragraphs:

People both inside and outside the academy are forever complaining about various supposed shortcomings of legal education, but the longer that I work in legal education, the less patience I have for these complaints. The reason? The complainers seem to have no concept of opportunity cost.

More this and more that inevitably means less of something else. Of course, we could expand the length of legal training, as suggested by one of the thought papers, but that proposal has its own opportunity costs, and they are substantial. Moreover, as noted, it’s just not going to happen. So this is what I want to know: given three years for law school, if you want more globalization or more ethics or more skills training, what are you going to sacrifice to get that thing? If you can tell me that, then we can have a decent conversation.

Exactly.  Gordon is, as always, perceptive and provocative.  Go read the whole thing.

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