Take a look at this NYT’s article by University of San Diego Professor, Vic Fleischer, noting that “The law school at Seton Hall University has put its untenured faculty on legal notice that their contracts may not be renewed for the 2014-15 academic year.” While disagreeing with the Seton Hall decision, Fleischer offers some suggestions of his own on how law schools could cut costs, “Post-tenure review (by faculty, not administrators) can ensure that faculty members remain productive. Libraries can be moved online. Clinics can be closed, and adjunct faculty can be better utilized to team-teach practical courses alongside research faculty. The size of the administrative staff can be pared down, especially those who manage programs that might be considered luxuries.”
At a time when law schools are being criticized for paying insufficient attention to training in practical lawyering skills and professional values (not to mention, the advent of scalable online teaching technologies), I do not see how closing clinics is the answer. I would prefer for the discussion to recognize that if we eliminate clinics altogether, then what remains to be taught in law schools could easily move online. In an article I will be sending out next week, I go into this in a lot more depth.