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Will Calif. Law Grads Have to Complete Residencies? Bar Mulls Practical Skills Mandate

Posted Jan 13, 2012 7:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The State Bar of California has formed a task force that will consider requiring law grads to get practical experience with clients before obtaining a law license.

California Bar President Jon Streeter tells the Daily Journal (sub. req.) the proposal is “still a concept in its infancy.” Among the ideas that will be considered: Mandating legal residencies, similar to those required for doctors, or allowing law school clinical courses to satisfy all or part of the requirement.

Julianne D'Angelo Fellmeth, a law professor at the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego, tells the legal publication that she supports "anything that can give law students a better sense of what it's actually like to practice law." But she also sees a potential downside.

Law students who aren’t picked for internships could be barred from the profession, she speculated. And such a requirement could lead to discrimination against students based on "race, gender, the number of piercings."

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