Why “Practice-Ready” Isn’t Enough

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted an article this week on practice-readiness in the legal profession.  There’s More to the Law Than ‘Practice-Ready’, by Alfred S. Konefsky and Barry Sullivan, is a call for law schools to go beyond the ABA’s resolution for law school’s to produce “‘curricular programs intended to develop practice-ready lawyers.'”  The article is about taking steps past the debate between skills and doctrinal education to have a wider discussion about successfully integrating both.  Here is a piece of the article:

So “practice-readiness” is indeed an important goal of legal education—but we think that law schools owe students more than that. Successful careers begin with competent practice in the early years, but preparation for the long haul is also essential. At the very least that means acquiring an array of skills beyond those usually mentioned in connection with practice-readiness. When we look back at the changes we have personally seen in society and the world, as well as in the legal profession and in legal education, we can only begin to imagine the world in which today’s law students will finish their careers. The real task of legal education must be to prepare students, as best we can, for a lifetime of successful, ethical, and personally rewarding practice.

The article provides some nice examples of what the authors view as important to practice like the difference between civil and common law systems, or the impact of race and gender on the practice of law (incidentally, a recent article by Professor Laurie Shanks on that issue is posted on SSRN).

Give the article a read and let us know what you think!

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