Are They Law Students? Or Legal Education Customers?
In case you missed it, there is an interesting debate in the New York Times today over whether business schools ought to treat enrollees as “customers” or “students.” The back and forth was prompted by a recent article in the Chicago Tribune and, in the exchange, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (president emeritus, George Washington), Edward A. Snyder (dean, University of Chicago Booth School of Business), David Bejou (dean, Elizabeth City State University School of Business), Richard Vedder (professor of economics, Ohio State University), and Mark C. Taylor (professor of religion, Columbia University) make some provocative points.
Although it is not always made so explicit, it seems to me that many law schools are struggling with the same concerns. How much control should law students have over the exact trajectories of their educations? Should there be more mandatory courses or more electives? How much time should professors spend on their teaching versus their scholarship? Should students be able to dictate (or at least have input on) how professors teach, what they teach, and when they teach? Should students be permitted to attend faculty meetings?
While the comparison seems natural, it is also worth thinking about how the M.B.A. context might potentially be different from the J.D. context.
Perhaps the New York Times should sponsor another debate?