Over in the forum, we’ve talked about the idea of restructuring the third year of law school. Some of us were strongly in favor of including more practical experience in place of classroom time during the final year of study. Well Washington and Lee School of Law is going right ahead with such a plan, and it recently received a major donation to devise its experimental third year, which will consist largely of practical training, client interaction, and law practice experience.
John Huss, a 1965 graduate of the law school, and his wife Ruth donated $2 million to develop and run the innovative program that will focus on ethics, civility, civic leadership, pro bono work, and law firm economics. A third of the school's full-time faculty as well as judges and local practitioners from top firms will take part in the new initiative, which will begin on a voluntary basis with the 2009-10 academic year. The program will become mandatory for all third-year students in 2011-12.
Will other law schools follow this lead? Is it time for more law schools to accept that students want to be prepared to be practicing attorneys when they graduate?