The National Law Journal
January 14, 2013
11. January 14, 2013 08:31 AM
Why not replace the conventional 3L year with required period of supervised pro bono work? That not only would save students money, but would benefit society and still achieve the goals the 3L year *is supposed to achieve* (i.e. cementing skills learned 1L/2L year). Obviously this is what "clinics" were envisioned to achieve, but why are students paying to do it? If it's restructured as pro bono, could it not be eligible for state/federal aid to compensate the supervising professors/attorneys? Or, since it's pro bono, attorneys can count it toward their nonbillables and professors should do pro bono anyway -- they are lawyers too.
12. January 14, 2013 07:34 AM
I think that it is quite easy. If a third year is not required, then those completing the degree should get something less than a Juris Doctor degree. The JD is awarded to those completing a BS or BA 3 years of credits minimum. For a BS or BA with 2 years of credits, they should not get a JD degree, but like in Europe, a bachelor of laws (with a post graduate certificate) or something equivalent.
— Ronald Courtney, Esq.
13. January 12, 2013 10:56 PM
The problem is not the 3rd year, but the quality and diversity of classes that are offered to 3Ls. I don't believe that internships are the answer either--students need to learn practical skills in a learning environment (where they can only do harm to their grades). Class topics that I could have used as a 3L were practical ones, how to draft pleadings, for example. Motion practice is another. Also, NY procedure can be like trying to figure out an ancient riddle. I could have really, really used a class in real, applied procedure--not memorizing CPLR sections. Instead I had to figure it out myself as solo--and that was painful.
Although the goals are worthy ones, I am not sure that the new pro bono requirement will be successful. In my experience as a new grad I found it hard to get volunteer work. The organizations wanted me to carry my own malpractice insurance and as an unemployed graduate with no income, it was not something I could afford to do.
Keep the 3rd year, just make it better.