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Carnegie in a Post-Downturn Light

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2 Responses

  1. Aaron Titus says:

    As a recent graduate, I can vouch for the intense pressures on the legal job markets right now. Many of my friends are furloughed right now. As for me, I will be lucky enough to work with an acquaintance who has a few more years of legal experience and his own firm. I’ll be working “for fee,” which presents both substantial risks and opportunities.

    While the quality of my GW education was outstanding, the career services were geared toward students who wanted to work 80-90 hours per week at a large law firm and never see their families again. As an evening student with a family, I appreciated taking classes from full-time and adjunct professors to get a balanced perspective of legal theory, legal practice, and life-balance.

    Whenever I mentioned to career services that I did not intend to work in a big law firm, I received two distinct messages in response: 1. You’re on your own. Good luck. 2. You must be one of those people who want to do “something else” with their law degree, other than practice law.

    Though #2 is not entirely correct, may I suggest something heretical: What if law school taught some of those other things one can do with a legal degree? Many lawyers I know do not practice law- they are in real estate, investment, lobbying, business management, government, and a range of other activities. Yet law school provides precious little information about non-legal careers for those with a JD. I always sensed that among law professors, those who earn a JD and do not practice law are the illegitimate stepchildren of the profession. Perhaps it’s time to invite them back to the family reunion.

  2. John Steele says:

    It’s an important topic, and it’s nice to see professors struggling with it. But in describing the professors as “stewards,” and in suggesting that the solution will require conversations with sectors of the “bench and bar,” I can’t help but wonder if we’re leaving out the most important stakeholder: the students. They are taking on a lot of debt, are foregoing three years of income, and are facing a difficult market. We trusted them with the personal and financial decision to enter law school. Might we trust them with a far more significant role in choosing the curriculum?