I recently participated in an excellent symposium about the future of legal education that was sponsored by the Seton Hall Law Review. Congratulations to the law review editors on putting on a great event, and thanks to them for inviting me to be a part of it.
Most of the presentations took the form of detailed papers that will be published in the law school’s symposium issue. But there were a few moments of levity, represented by the following seven notable quotations (comments that I found either amusing or interesting):
“It’s hard to model emotional intelligence if you don’t have any. Law schools will need to change whom they hire.”
— Dorothy Brown, associate vice provost and professor of law at Emory Law School, discussing how law schools need to broaden their approach to training young lawyers.
“Part of being a good lawyer is knowing when to keep your mouth shut. But those aren’t the types of people who go to law school.”
— Evan Chesler, chairman of Cravath, emphasizing the importance of good judgment to the practice of law.
“I graduated from law school in 1976. Tuition was $963 a semester, and we revolted when they wanted to raise it to $968 a semester.”
“The current ABA standard requires each faculty member to have their own office. Why is that an accreditation requirement? Many practicing lawyers don’t have private offices.”
— Donald Polden, professor of law and dean emeritus at Santa Clara University School of Law, reviewing various ABA requirements for law school accreditation.
“Here’s an interesting question to pose to alumni who are five, ten, or fifteen years out of law school: how many would want a refund on their legal education? Very few. How many investments do we measure just one year out?”
— Patrick Hobbs, dean of Seton Hall University School of Law, criticizing the short-term focus of certain critics of legal education.
“Law is a great profession, but it’s not an easy one. Today I’m 5’7″ on a good day. When I started at Kirkland & Ellis 30 years ago, I was 6’2″ and weighed 180 pounds.”
— Steven J. Harper, former Kirkland partner and author of The Lawyer Bubble (affiliate link), noting that practicing law is rewarding but challenging — and that the decision to go to law school should not be made lightly.
“This is a great time to be a legal education reformer. I’ve been singing this tune for 30 years. This is the moment when everybody’s listening. I’m a really happy guy right now.”
— James Moliterno, professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law and author of The American Legal Profession in Crisis (affiliate link), sounding optimistic notes about the prospects for true reform within the legal academy.
You can read more about the conference proceedings when the symposium issue of the law review comes out. In addition, one of the panelists — Professor Michael Simkovic, who mixed it up at one panel with Steven Harper — has this related blog post. Once again, congratulations to the law review on hosting such an educational and enjoyable event.
Legal Education, Looking Forward: About The Symposium [Seton Hall Law Review]
Legal Education, Looking Forward: Agenda/Schedule [Seton Hall Law Review]
The Economic Value of a Law Degree: Means, Medians, Modes (Michael Simkovic)
[Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports]