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Few professions have been spared in the current economic crisis, with the business of law unquestionably among the most affected. As firms conduct mass layoffs for the first time in history and client frustration over billing structures hits new peaks, we may have reached a tipping point. It goes without saying that the fates of law schools and law firms go hand in hand, so perhaps this is an ideal time for academia and practitioners to come together to question, evaluate and reassess the way lawyers are trained.

During much of the past century, lawyers learned a great deal about the practice of law — the skills of interpersonal relationships and client development, and strategies to excel in negotiations, for example — more from observation while practicing law than in law school. As a result, law schools were free to focus on the theoretical — the erudite intellectual debate — and were not required to provide instruction on skills such as drafting interrogatories or subjects such as organizational psychology. I suspect we are past the time for this model to change.  

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