Earlier this week, Brooklyn Law School’s Dean and Professor of Law Nicholas W. Allard hosted a Panel discussion called New Realities in Law: A Response to President Obama’s “Two-Year J.D.” Suggestion. The session took place after comments at a town hall-style meeting last week by President Obama who said, “I believe that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years.” BLS has begun an important conversation about the new world of law, emphasizing new changes underway; the response from law schools, including “Brooklyn 2-3-4” and other innovations to enhance educational value; the most pressing needs among employers; and new opportunities for students entering the legal marketplace. Among the panelists were American Bar Association President James Silkenat, New York Law School Dean and President and Professor of Law Anthony C. Crowell, New York City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, and Presiding Justice Randall Eng of New York’s Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department. Brooklyn Law School created the first two year J.D. program in the NY metropolitan area in May 2013 when its Board of Trustees approved the start of the program in 2014.
A search of Hein Online shows that the idea of a two-year law school program dates back more than 40 year ago when the late Preble Stolz, a Law Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote an article The Two-Year Law School: The Day the Music Died, 25 J. Legal Educ. 37 (1972-1973). The article notes that the proposal of a two-year law school goes back to 1972 in New Orleans when a proposal to authorize some law schools to grant the first degree in law after two years of study was killed. The idea was contained in a revision of the standards for accreditation of law schools by the ABA. Years later, an article called The Happy Charade: An Empirical Examination of the Third Year of Law School, 51 J. Legal Educ. 235 (2001), began with the ancient law school proverb “In the first year of law school, they scare you to death. In the second year, they work you to death. In the third year, they bore you to death.” There is more at a recent post on Balkanization titled The Proposal for a 2 Year Law Degree: Deja Vu All Over Again?