Making Lawyers Not Law Profs

01Jun12

Greater minds than mine are debating the output of law school graduates and their readiness to start a career. Many will be surprised to learn there is an apprenticeship period called articling similar to medical students and residencies.  I would argue that law school badly needs reform. From my observations at a large law firm, graduates are ill-prepared as they need doses of financial accounting, professional ethics, risk management, organizational behaviour, conflict resolution, project management and more. Basically lawyers are entering into a complex world, where they need advanced business and management skills. In my experience they arrive at Big Law firms a bit dazed and confused. Law school teaches the subject  of law, but not how to manage a partnership or how to find new and sustain clients.

There is hope as law societies or state bar associations recognize reform is needed now. Massachusetts Bar calls for more practice skills in law schools to spur employment opportunities for grads May 23, 2012 post at Law Librarian Blog

 The tradition of apprenticeship or articling will likely remain, but today the skills gap between a first year associate and a partner seems wide and not as acceptable, in an atmosphere where clients question the value of the billable hour and legal fees.

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