Law Schools

Want to Trim Costs of Legal Education? Allow Undergrad Law Degrees, Law Prof Says

A law professor and a BigLaw lawyer have a solution to the high cost of legal education: Allow would-be lawyers to take the bar exam after obtaining an undergraduate law degree.

Northwestern University law professor John McGinnis and Kirkland & Ellis associate Russell Mangas outline their proposal in an opinion column for the Wall Street Journal (sub. req).

The high cost of a law degree limits the supply of lawyers and leads to higher legal fees, they write. “Here is a straightforward solution: States should permit undergraduate colleges to offer majors in law that will entitle graduates to take the bar exam. If they want to add a practical requirement, states could also ask graduates to serve one-year apprenticeships before becoming eligible for admission to the bar.”

They write that their idea “is hardly untested” and point to the legal education system in Great Britain as an example. Law schools could still offer three-year juris doctor degrees “forcing law schools to justify their cost by offering additional benefits,” they say.

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

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