As you may have heard, Harvard Law School is revamping its first year core curriculum to include courses focused on regulation and legislation, international law and legal theories. As I was reading the reactions to this development at Law Career Blog and the Volokh Conspiracy, I began wondering what framework I should use to think about this issue. As I often do, I resorted to my wisdom form the kitchen. I am usually pretty good at making decisions in the kitchen. It’s simple, really. Before I know if I need, let’s say, onions for dinner, I have to decide what I want to eat for dinner. After I choose a dish, I know what kinds of ingredients I need. On some days, I look into the refrigerator to take my inventory and then decide what I can have for dinner. The second approach is much less appealing to me because my options are limited. I also understand that there may be some trade-offs involved: if I want a three-course gourmet dinner, it will cost me more money and I will have to work longer and harder for it but the outcome may be worth it.
How is it related to the law school curriculum debate? Before I can form an opinion on what is good and what is not good for the first year law students, I need to know what law students want. After all, they are the ones who pay the tuition. Law students, as informed consumers, what do you want for your money? Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What kinds of skills do you want to develop in law school?
- What kind of person do you want to be after law school? I believe that professional programs have the potential to change the way people approach life situations. My pre-MBA husband was a bit different from my post-MBA husband. I am sure, he agrees that the law school changed me as well.
- Would you rather learn what the law is or what the law can be? Stated differently, do you want more emphasis on the black letter law or on the analysis of the options and possibilities?
- Do you think that the litigation and transactional areas should be equally represented in the core curriculum?
- Should we talk more about ethics in law school, in light of the recent corporate scandals?
- Should law schools foster cooperation or competition?
- Should we have more writing in law schools?
- Should there be more technology-based courses?
- Do you want to know anything about legal systems of other countries?
- Should law schools allow graduation credits for electives outside the law program?
- Should law schools offer more practice management courses?
I’d like to hear your voice.