Should American Law Schools Continue to Graduate Lawyers Whom Clients Consider Worthless?

15 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2011 Last revised: 17 Dec 2012

See all articles by Clark D. Cunningham

Clark D. Cunningham

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2011


At a recent national conference on legal education, the associate general counsel of one of America’s largest corporations said that his company no longer allows first or second year associates to work on their matters “because they’re worthless.” At one time many law schools were comfortable in relying on large firms to turn their graduates into lawyers worthy to represent clients, but the famous “Cravath” system for such training has been in decline and is now severely threatened by the current economic crisis in law practice. The article contrasts the American approach to training lawyers to that in place in other major jurisdictions related to the common law tradition, with a particular focus on Scotland. The article then concludes with an examination of a ground-breaking experiment at the University of New Hampshire Law School, where students who complete a special two year honors program designed to make them “client-ready” are being admitted to practice upon graduation without taking a conventional bar examination.

Keywords: legal education, law schools, education, legal training, new lawyers, legal education reform, Scotland, University of New Hampshire

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K30, K39, Z00

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Clark D., Should American Law Schools Continue to Graduate Lawyers Whom Clients Consider Worthless? (2011). Maryland Law Review, Vol. 70, p. 499, 2011, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-11, Available at SSRN:

Clark D. Cunningham (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States


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