Lippe states that law schools have evolved from apprenticeships, to trade schools, and finally to their current state, where they focus on scholastic gymnastics and abstract thought.
But this current approach is flawed, Lippe says.
He states that when students graduate from law school they don't have marketable skills, and, as such, aren't prepared for the practice of law.
To fix these problems, he suggests that schools offer an accelerated curriculum, teach more about the practice of law, encourage social networking, force deeper inquiry, and continue skills development for students post graduation.
The remedies Lippe suggest are similar to those found in a 2007 study by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
One thing that distinguishes Lippe's argument from the study, however, is his suggestion to move back to what he calls "mission-centered managemen,t" where the mission of law schools should be to serve society, the profession and - get ready for it - its students.
I know that, as a 0L, I am something of an outsider. But as a former journalism student preparing to go into the legal world, it seems to me the problems that law schools face are similar to the ones that journalism schools are facing: do they take an academic, often idealistic, approach and observe/theorize how battles have played or are playing out, or, do they take a practical approach and place their students in the line of fire?
Do they want to turn out scholars who can run circles around others when it comes to legal theory? Or, do they want to turn out attorneys who can go to the mat in the courtroom?
Both approaches in either profession have their benefits and serve unique purposes.
But, for the most part, it appears that law schools have been making the choices for their students on what approach is taken.
Do you go to HYS or other T14 school? You will be a legal messiah, and the legal gods will smile upon you and bless you with judicial clerkships. Do you go to a more regional school? You are destined for the regional firm trenches.
If schools really wanted to serve their students, the choice of focus should really be in their students' hands. If they want to grow more legal grey matter, build more legal muscle, or try a little bit of both, the school should have programs in place that allows their students to cater a program to their own needs.
Got another idea on how to fix law schools? Let us know in the comment section below!