During this country’s infancy, lawyers were educated and trained for the profession not by attending law school, but through an apprenticeship with a practicing attorney. At the start of the 19th century, a college degree was not required for bar admission and 68 percent of Philadelphia lawyers were college graduates at that time, according to A. Christopher Bryant in an article for the Nevada Law Journal titled, “Reading the Law in the Office of Calvin Fletcher: The Apprenticeship System and the Practice of Law in Frontier Indiana,” which explores the apprenticeship system. By the end of that century, university law schools had replaced apprenticeships as the dominant method of educating and training lawyers.

However, Bryant suggests that we lost something along the way in terms of practical guidance in a work setting. He posits that graduating law school alone does not prepare most lawyers for immediate entry into a solo practice and that those in supervisory roles are key to ensuring experiential learning.

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