Doctors Trained Like Lawyers?

Does that question send chills down your spine? At a recent symposium on legal education, Professor David Chavkin of the University of Washington School of Law, put it this way:

“If the goal of medical school were to teach students not how to be doctors, but how to think like doctors, would you want to be a graduate’s first patient?”

Practical legal education has been a topic of discussion for at least the last 20 years, but the noise seems to be growing louder and louder. In today’s world of increased competition, the need to hit the ground running and be immediately productive, is extremely high. Those new lawyers who were exposed to the actual practice of law, are bound to be more successful than their counterparts.

While law schools continue to add more clinics and practice-based classes, I would argue that it is incumbent upon law firms to implement comprehensive training programs that address the needs of new lawyers, including legal research and writing. Surveys show that new lawyers will spend 80% of their time in the first three years on legal research and writing. If that is true, then sharpening those skills is even more important than almost anything else.

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