After all my jabs recently regarding the challenges facing legal education, the American Bar Association has decided to try and discuss these issues at length via committee. The ABA launched the 18-member Task Force on the Future of Legal Education to spend two years examining the changes roiling the law profession and legal education, focusing on how well law schools are meeting the needs of the profession.
This is not the first task force to scrutinize the growing problems in our field. While the ABA’s committee will analyze the legal education more than some of the other earlier committees, task forces within the New York State Bar Association and the Massachusetts Bar Association both convened in 2011 to discuss the training and education of new lawyers, law firm structure and billing, technology and work-life balance, as well as turning a special eye to job opportunities for new lawyers and law graduate unemployment.
In April, the NYSBA issued a 120-page report with its findings. In May, the 14-member panel of the MBA recommended an increase in mentoring for young attorneys and law students, the addition of law school-funded clerk positions within the state trial court system, establishment of post-graduate clinics and law school-controlled teaching firms.
Other state bar associations have recognized the problems facing young attorneys through committee discussions. While these efforts have identified problems, no dramatic changes in career development have resulted. I have heard and read about many crises within the legal profession and the operation of law firms but I have seen no substantial changes being made so far.
What changes do you think need to be made? What needs to happen before changes are actually made? What problems have you directly faced because changes have not been made?