Trend toward law school specialization



The news about NYU “retrofitting” it’s law school curriculum is big and has spanned interesting commentary including the  following article  by Victor Fleischer.The article begins as follows:

The twilight of the generalist law degree is here.

As Peter Lattman reported last week, New York University School of Law is retrofitting its third-year curriculum to allow for increased specialization. Options include advanced study in areas like tax or corporate law, working in Washington at a federal agency or foreign study in Buenos Aires, Paris or Shanghai.

While the study-abroad aspect of the program has received much of the attention, the heart of the proposal is an important shift toward specialization.

Mr. Fleischer suggests much about the future of a law school education. In general, the article makes the point that law schools need to do a better job aligning student curriculum to the real world. This world includes the following:

– high law school debt with low starting salaries

– increasingly savvy, cost conscious clients who are farm work offshore or to other kinds of professionals

– a current law school curriculum which fails to prepare students for the reality of the job market

– a suggestion that law school should become two years (this I totally agree with) and then adding an extra year of a specialty (I would also argue that joint degrees law degrees are becoming more and more helpful)

– a suggestion that financial literacy become part of  what law schools teach

This article is a must read for prelaw students (who are thinking about their LSAT preparation), law students (who are thinking about their course selection), law school deans who are planning the future of their law schools and law firms who are increasingly demanding more from law school graduates.