Northwestern University has become the third law school in the United States (after Southwestern and the University of Dayton) to offer a two-year law school degree. Although there was a fair amount of buzz, much of it critical, when Southwestern and Dayton adopted the two-year option, Northwestern’s high profile…it is generally considered a top ten law school…is generating seemingly unprecedented discussion about the future of legal education.
The first question in everyone’s mind; if one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools legitimizes a two- year law degree, can numerous other law schools be far behind?
But, there are many other questions as well.
Will the ABA weigh in on the validity of the new degree anytime soon? How will law firms, especially the high end firms which traditionally hire top Northwestern grads, respond to Northwestern’s new degree option? Will top students be willing to take the risk that the two-year degree option may limit their professional options?
Will students who elect a two year degree program be less likely to pass the bar exam?
There is wide disagreement on virtually all of these issues.
For years, students have described law school as follows:
First year; scare you to death, second year; work you to death, third year; bore you to death.
Have some legal educators come to agree with them?