What They Don’t Teach Law Students: How to Practice Law
Law students spend a lot of money to learn dozens of areas of law. They spend several billions of dollars in tuition in this country each year to learn the history and intricacies of many legal areas. They cram much learning into a short three year period. Yet what they do not get, for all that time and money, is much practical training. There are some clinic programs (my school, Gonzaga, has an excellent law clinic program) which teach practicum, but law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, with classes that are often overstuffed with antiquated distinctions, like the variety of property law in post-feudal England. David Segal writes in the New York Times, that more and more clients who are paying big dollars for representation, are actually paying big law firms to train (on the clients’ dime) how to actually practice law. Only three percent of law schools require clinical training. Instead, law schools tend to push their law review publications, which bring more prestige and notoriety to the schools. My takeaway from the article is that it is advisable for clients of law firms to demand that they pay only for the lead attorney’s time, and not the billed hours for interns and low level associates, who are learning “on the job” and not providing the true value of what is being billed to the client.