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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues