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August 13, 2013

3 + 3: Not a fan

by Dan Rodriguez

The latest trend.

The motivation is not a mystery.

But here’s the real objection, from my perspective:  Law school benefits from a more mature student, one with not only a rich, comprehensive undergraduate experience, but with some time off between college and law school.  Nearly all Northwestern law students (90% in last year’s class; 95% the year before) have had one or more “gap” years between undergrad and law school.  Firms nearly uniformly regard this as valuable.  We notice it in the classroom; they notice it in the hothouse of law practice.  We this is a critical part of what we call, with hubris to be sure, the Northwestern “difference.”

Other law schools are moving in this direction, some in significant measure.  Why strategies that move in the opposite direction?  Competitiveness in the rat race of law schools has its consequences; and none of us are immune to this.  But let’s take a deep breath and think carefully about whether we are serving our law students and the law firms well by shaving the years between high school and law school.

I get the handwriting on the wall, but I still say:  Not a fan.

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