Views from the Chair: Challenging times

Vol. 43 No. 4

Irma S. Russell is dean and professor at the University of Montana School of Law.

Legal education has been in the news lately, and much of the focus is not positive. A series of New York Times articles over the last year by David Segal and others argues that today’s law schools fail to prepare students to practice law. Segal charges that the law school of today “cultivates a student’s capacity to reason and all but ignores the particulars of practice.” Michael Olivas, president of the Association of American Law Schools, calls the current state of financing for legal education a “burning theater.” Olivas sees recent developments as “literally threaten[ing] the enterprise” of legal education. Among them, he notes, are the cost of financing legal education, the difficult job market, and the likelihood of lower lawyer salaries in the future global market.

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