Rocco Basile Thinks Law Schools Must Adapt Curricula to Better Prepare Students
Today’s article is brought to you by special guest Rocco Basile.
In many ways, the legal system is more than just a bit antiquated. While there have been many recent discussions regarding simplifying legal terminology and adopting a national bar examination, one area that is deserving of greater attention is the nature of the curricula offered in the nation’s law schools. Perhaps there is no greater example of an educational system that is not ideally designed to ensure the future success of its students than in these curricula, as future lawyers are increasingly entering the profession lacking some very necessary skills.
This is not to say these newly minted lawyers are lacking in legal expertise. Certainly it is the case that law schools ensure that its students are well-versed in all aspects of law ranging from constitutional law to civil litigation, but there are some valuable skills that are not being properly developed in these students. When it comes to matters of business, many new lawyers are not nearly as knowledgeable as they should be, and they often struggle in situations that require a strong business acumen.
It is for this reason that many law schools are adopting changes to curricula, ensuring that students are properly prepared in all facets of a future legal career. There are many underlying factors that are responsible for the lack of preparation, as it seems that law school curricula tend to focus on preparation for the bar exam rather than the realities a lawyer will face when entering the legal field. While a national bar exam could stir changes in this regard, law schools must still adapt their programs to prepare students for passing the bar exam and for practicing law in the real-world situations they are likely to encounter upon graduation.
Programs such as the ones at New York Law School and Harvard Law School have recognized this need and are in the process of adapting curricula to better reflect the needs of students. New York Law School has partnered with the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School while Harvard will offer students access to a training program through its own business school, changes that are long overdue in legal education. Corporate law represents a great deal of the work lawyers are charged with, so without specific knowledge of the workings of the industry these lawyers are ill-prepared to serve as legal representatives. Better preparation through education is the most ideal way to solve this vital issue.