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May 08, 2014

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ZDT

What would be really interesting is if Arizona started allowing law graduates with that BA to take the bar exam. Want to talk about quick legal reform bypassing the ABA and its incompetently constructed law reform committees...

Ben Barros

ZDT, that would be a complete disaster for the profession. The BA isn't designed to produce practicing lawyers. There is a case to be made for making law an undergraduate degree as they do in England, but the program would have to be designed in the right way.

No, breh.

Curious if anyone knows the answer to this or not, but I vaguely recall seeing some materials around the time I took the bar that referenced LLBs. Now I'm sure that language was a relic of earlier times, but is there anything preventing law schools from granting LLBs and having their LLB grads sit for the bar?

Ellen

Anything that produces more lawyers is a bad idea. There are just too many attorneys chasing too few clients and dollars. I could see someone with this degree becoming a paralegal, law librarian, legal administrator, but there are probably too many of them, too.

Ben Barros

No, breh, good question. ABA Standard 502(a) is the biggest impediment: "A law school shall require for admission to its J.D. degree program a bachelor’s degree, or successful completion of three-fourths of the work acceptable for a bachelor’s degree, from an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Department of Education."

Ellen, this degree wouldn't produce more lawyers. It would produce more people with some legal education, but it would not allow them to practice.

Former Editor

Would this degree undermine the value of a JD in getting JD advantage jobs? If ability to practice is not required for a position, is there something that would not make this degree an adequate substitute for a JD for those types of jobs?

Ellen

Ben: See ZDT's posting above. Should more schools offer this degree and then push to allow those with the degree to sit for the bar, that would produce more lawyers. Should we move to a model like England's, that would likely produce more lawyers. Should law schools find a way to reduce tuition substantially and permanently, that would likely produce more lawyers.

Anything that produces more lawyers is bad for members of the profession and, I think, the country on the whole.

Ben Barros

Former Editor, JD Advantaged jobs are so varied that it seems hard to say. I'd think that it might undercut the desirability of a JD for some, but not for that many. Not the good ones, at least, which tend to value the analytical training and broader legal knowledge. A potentially bigger treat to JD Advantaged is master's degrees that focus on particular types of jobs - e.g., a masters in compliance, or, even more specifically, a masters in healthcare compliance.

Ellen, fair enough, though I think that if the cost of production is low enough, more lawyers can be good both for the profession and the public.

Former Editor

Ellen, I'm not sure that it necessarily follows that a cheaper law degree means more lawyers. It's possible that you could have a cheaper degree and fewer (or the same number) of lawyers if the law schools and the profession increase the selectivity of these cheaper programs. Don't hold your breath or anything, but it's possible.

Ben, It seems to me that you may be presuming that the undergraduate law program won't mirror much of the same training that occurs in a graduate level JD program. I'm not sure that Az's program will do that, although based on the linked post it aims at doing so. It says, for example, that the required courses will include ones that "will provide an understanding of subjects such as property, contracts and torts, constitutional law, administrative law, and civil and criminal procedure. They will be taught by full-time faculty at the law school and designed to train students to 'think like a lawyer.'"

Ben Barros

FE, thanks. Based on my conversation with Brent White, the program does not aim to do the same thing as a JD program. The coverage and professional training are far more modest.

anon

Perhaps these grads can be called "AB advantaged."

Anon123

What is the point of a BA in Law? If the student wants some vocational training as an undergraduate, he or she would be far better off majoring in accounting, and then going to law school. If the student wants a liberal arts degree, he should do that.

Ben Barros

Anon123, what is the point of a BA in philosophy or sociology? Why is a BA in Law less of a liberal arts course than a BA in anthropology? It would be different if it focused on professional training, but that is not the focus of the Arizona program. And for students who are less liberal-arts inclined, how different is this from a BA in business?

No, breh.

Agree w/ Ben @ 5:30.

Honestly, it's probably worthwhile for most polisci/cj/interested-in-law-school types solely as a preview of the legal field.

And, as much as I hate on the JD credential and the legal industry generally, and without getting into the employability issue, the analytical training in law school is actually pretty decent.

I would really like to see an undergrad>>bar exam pipeline though.

anon

Many of the "JD Advantaged" positions are fillable by these grads, right? After all, "JD Advantage" positions do not require a JD, do not require bar passage, do not require an active law license, or involve practicing law in the traditional sense.

Many if not most of the so called "JD Advantaged" positions would appear to be easily filled by someone with a FOUR YEAR major in law, e.g. corporate contracts administrator, jobs in personnel or human resources, jobs with consulting firms, jobs doing compliance work for business and industry, jobs in law school career services offices, admissions offices, or other law school administrative office, those who plan to work in an insurance or risk management setting, as well as journalists and teachers (in a higher education setting) of law and law-related topics.

In other words, this BA will give the lie to the bogus and incredibly specious use by law schools in trouble to cover up abysmal placement opportunities for the vast majority of those who have expended exorbitant sums to obtain training and preparation in law school for careers as attorneys.

John Steele

Anon 7:58,

I think you're right that BAs in law will be capable of doing those JD advantage jobs. The students will be better off if, for example, they get a BA in law from their state universities with little debt, spend a couple of years working in some field related to law, and then decide if they need an advanced degree or not -- much like the way accounting and business management grads need to decide if the MBA is right for them. I'd like to see one year LLM's for people who got their BA in law. Presumably at that point, the BA holders knows what field they're interested in (e.g., administrative law compliance, advocacy, contract management) and could choose a focused LLM program.

Note, too, that federal courts and agencies can decide who can practice before them, independently of what state bars say. It's not impossible that this BA in law could lead directly to the practice of law.

Ronald Johns

Law jobs aren't there for the number of law school graduates produced each year, and this will do nothing to change that.

Best thing for job correction is for less law school graduates, which should come from less students applying for law school.

Fact Check

It should also come from law schools reducing class sizes to reasonably match opportunity for graduates. If a third of a school's graduating class is consistently unemployed or failing the bar exam, it seems to me that the first thing that school should consider is enrolling a third fewer students.

Anon123

Ben, a major in accounting prepares the student for some jobs. I find a BA in Law even more a truth in advertising issue than JD's from third tier schools.

scandalous

Could you imagine an accounting department whose main criterion for hiring professors was how much they wrote on historical accounting practices and the philosophy of accounting?

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