58,000 Minutes: An Essay on Law Majors and Emerging Proposals for the Third Year of Law Study

17 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2013

Date Written: October 8, 2013


Any number of recent debates animate discussions of legal education and its perdition, failures, and confidence-game character. As one of the many prescriptions offered for the wounded enterprise, a number of serious and semi-serious discussions have arisen considering the three-year period required by most law schools. In addition there are serious discussions afoot concerning the need for specialization in an increasingly specialized legal practice. This Article critiques two of the many program emphases that have arisen, that of JD majors for specialization, and the option of eliminating the third year through compression or early bar admissions. While these are obviously not the same issue, they are related and grow from the notion that law studies are professional skills training, that professional specialization requires JD training specialization regimes, and that schools should accommodate alternative calendars and occupational branding measures to single themselves out in the large legal marketplace and facilitate placement for their graduates. My responses are at least in part counter-intuitive, and are offered to further discussion on the important underlying issues.

Keywords: Legal Education, Legal Specialization, Law School Calendars

Suggested Citation

Olivas, Michael A., 58,000 Minutes: An Essay on Law Majors and Emerging Proposals for the Third Year of Law Study (October 8, 2013). 45 McGeorge Law Review 1-17 (2014), U of Houston Law Center No. 2013-A-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2337539

Michael A. Olivas (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States
713-743-2078 (Phone)
713-743-2085 (Fax)

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