3L-itis

Does your school offer Law and Finger Painting? I bet they would if you asked.

Don’t look now, but spring is right around the corner. Spring semester, that is. For 3Ls around the country, just a few classes stand between them and graduation into one of the worst legal job markets.

Ever since President Obama suggested that the third year of law school could be cut, we’ve heard a lot of law professors talk about how essential the third year of law school is. You can take clinics! You can become “practice ready”!

Sure, you can do those things. But it’s unlikely that you are going to take any course in your last semester of school that will help you get a job when you graduate. Why would you do that? You can be unemployed just as easily taking small, low-stress classes that won’t screw up your GPA on your way out of the door.

Every school has its own selection of ridiculous upper-class electives, but I’d like to focus on how the big boys do it. The Ivy League law schools have been setting the standard for legal education for generations. Their students (for the most part) have jobs waiting for them on the other side of graduation. I’ve put together a full course schedule for an Ivy-educated 3L. Please feel free to send this to any professor who thinks that the third year is too important to lose…

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Yesterday, I reiterated the point that the third year of law school is largely useless. Such a position is not novel. Recently, NYU Law announced a big change to its 3L curriculum because, in part, the current use of the time is silly.

But even changes to the curriculum still contemplate making most students waste another year of tuition while they wait to take the bar and start their job search in earnest.

Out in Arizona (I’m still allowed to write about Arizona without having to prove my status, right?), some are pressuring the state supreme court to skip ahead and allow 3Ls to sit for the bar exam in February. They argue that the change will allow students to pass the bar before they graduate; that way they don’t have to wait until the fall to find out if they’ve passed the bar in a state where there aren’t a lot of jobs for students who have their bar passage “pending.”

Sounds like a great idea, so of course some people have a problem with it. You know, because then students will spend time caring about the bar during their third year, instead of reading Above the Law in class…

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Not so fast...

It’s March, and for most law school 3Ls, thoughts of graduation are constant. With the semester quickly drawing to a close, 3L-itis has set in. Some of you know the symptoms all too well: extreme apathy, laziness, and a general repulsion to all things law-related. Class today? Screw it. Deadline coming up? Meh.

But just when 3Ls thought they could make it through the rest of the semester by doing only the bare minimum, a challenger appears, armed with emailed threats of sending them all back to 1L.

Apparently, some 3Ls at this first-tier law school had forgotten to fill out a form necessary for graduation. In response, an administrator took it upon himself to send out what some tipsters have construed as the most “obnoxious and sarcastic email” ever written. Except he sent the email to the wrong people….

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