NYU Responds To Attacks That The Third Year Of Law School Is Utterly Useless

NYU Graduation at Yankee Stadium
NYU graduation at Yankee Stadium on May 16, 2012.

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The third year of law school is essentially useless, Stanford Law dean Larry Kramer said in a 2010 speech recently quoted by The New York Times.Well, law schools are listening, and New York University Law is among them, the Times reported.

The school is expected to announce vast changes in its third-year curriculum, including the option of studying abroad—Shanghai or Buenos Aires—or working for the Environmental Protection Agency or Federal Trade Commission, according to The Times. 

Previously, the third year was reserved for elective classes, but amid a scant job market and criticism from people in the industry, NYU and others have begun taking steps to give their graduates an edge in the legal industry.

Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado and one of the major critics of the law school business, even mentioned in a July 2012 paper that the idea of getting rid of the third year wouldn’t be too radical.

But Campos suggested an alternative approach would work, too.

Law schools can cut down on clinics and instead allow 3Ls to focus on external internships—that is where they would obtain practical skills for the legal world ahead, Campos wrote, suggesting a program resembling NYU’s.

Of course, this cost cutting should, Campos writes hopefully, result in the elimination of the third-year tuition for the students.

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