Accelerated law degree

June 26, 2008
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Northwestern University School of Law just announced it’s creating a two-year law program in addition to offering the traditional three-year term. The school – which is only the third in the country to offer an accelerated law degree – believes the quicker turnaround in getting a J.D. will help attract more students by appealing to those who want to get a head start on their future career and enormous law school debt. (The school hasn’t decided whether the tuition for the accelerated program will be the same as the traditional three-year program.)

Critics of the two-year track argue that cramming law school into a shorter timeframe will hurt students’ ability to learn how to think critically and explore job opportunities during the summer. One critic even went so far to call it “irresponsible” and said it risked creating inferior lawyers.

Inferior lawyers? I think that’s a stretch. I’ve seen my share of disciplinary actions involving attorneys who got their degrees in three years that may have done some things that could label them as “inferior.”

Accelerated degrees have been around for years – those with a college degree can take courses to become a teacher in two years or less at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis instead of having to go back to school for four more years. Numerous nursing programs offer accelerated degrees to those who already meet prerequisites and there hasn’t been a huge uproar in the medical community or by the general public regarding a nurse who got his or her degree in 18 months as opposed to four years.

Chances are those law students who choose to go the accelerated route know that they will have to spend more time studying and attending class throughout the year than they would if they were going the more traditional route. While having an extra year to prepare for your future profession is ideal, it’s not always necessary and many people are capable of becoming excellent attorneys in just two years.

Click here for Northwestern University’s press release about the change.

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.