The Downside of Requiring Additional Experiential Courses in Law School

Probate and Property, Volume 31, Number 2

U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 548

9 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2017 Last revised: 13 May 2017

Douglas A. Kahn

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2017

Abstract

In recent years, the bar has expressed dissatisfaction with what is considered by some to be inadequate preparation of law students to begin practicing law immediately after graduation. There are several reasons why this has become a matter of concern for the legal profession. The ABA, state bars and law schools have responded by adopting graduation requirements that force students to take a certain number of experiential courses.

The contention of this article is that the imposition of additional, required experiential courses will have a negative effect on the adequacy of a student's preparation to practice law because it contributes to a reduction in the student's exposure to a range of doctrinal courses (especially core courses) and to the skills that those courses develop. Indeed, the article contends that the current proliferation of clinical and other experiential courses, together with the increase in the number of other course offerings, has resulted in a sizeable percentage of graduating students being ill-prepared to practice law as soon after graduation as law firms would like. In considering whether to adopt course requirements for admission to a state's bar, those consequences should be taken into account.

Keywords: experiential, clinic, externship, internship, law school, education, curriculum, ABA, Bar

JEL Classification: K1, K30, K40, I23

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Douglas A., The Downside of Requiring Additional Experiential Courses in Law School (March 1, 2017). Probate and Property, Volume 31, Number 2; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 548. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942937

Douglas A. Kahn (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4043 (Phone)

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