Photo: Flickr/Tim Rodenberg
New York University Medical School has announced it’s letting some students finish school in just three years instead of four to save them some money.But the change has led some to wonder if a medical school can do that for its students, why can’t law schools?
The New York Times announced the change last week, writing that administrators are planning on “eliminating redundancies in their science curriculum, getting students into clinical training more quickly and adding some extra class time in the summer.”
Those changes will save students about a quarter of the cost of med school.
And while we’re sure future doctors are praising the changes, they do lead to questions about why NYU Law, one of the top schools in the country, can’t do the same thing.
The school announced in October that it planned to change its third year of law school, amid criticism that the last year of school is essentially useless.
But as Above The Law pointed out on Thursday, those changes amounted to nothing more than creating “a glorified study abroad program where students nonetheless have to pay the full cost of another year of school.”
So why is law school so resistant to change?
In part, it’s because many law school deans, such as Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s dean Lawrence Mitchell, don’t see a problem with the current system.
In an op-ed published last month, Mitchell blamed law schools’ bad reputation and problems on the media, claiming the schools’ way of operating was completely fine.
But ATL isn’t buying it. The blog’s Elie Mystal blames the disparity between medical school and law school on the way the two are regulated:
“Medical schools are regulated by the American Medical Association, which bothers to care about the future of health care in this country. Law schools are regulated by the American Bar Association, which cares about… ??? Honestly I have no idea what the organising principle of the ABA is any more. I’m not sure who benefits by propping up an outdated system that is resistant to change that neither protects currently barred attorneys from a flood of young competition, yet makes it cripplingly expensive for that younger generation to become barred in the first place.”
So while some deans, like Tom Keefe at St. Louis University School of Law, are advocating for a total overhaul of the law school system, if Mystal’s opinion holds true and the ABA isn’t pushing for reform, law school students might not be seeing substantial change any time soon.
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