Making Law School More Useful

36 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2012

See all articles by David McGowan

David McGowan

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: November 28, 2012


This paper offers suggestions for how law schools might better serve students in the increasingly competitive environment in which most schools operate. It treats the central problem as how to share among schools, firms, and clients the cost of training new lawyers. The paper proposes that schools may increase their competitiveness by bearing a greater fraction of the cost of turning college graduates into lawyers than they have in the recent past. In more concrete terms, it proposes propose that to become more useful schools should focus on two objectives: Increasing the fraction of conceptual and analytic training that translates well to practice environments, including by tempering the possibly counterproductive elements of traditional analytical training, and by increasing the degree to which incentives within schools reward work that increases a school’s value as a hub in a network of professional relationships.

Suggested Citation

McGowan, David, Making Law School More Useful (November 28, 2012). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 13-102, Available at SSRN: or

David McGowan (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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