Academics Pondering Changes To Length Of Law School

(Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With the cost of law school rising and the number of legal jobs shrinking, some are asking whether law schools should offer a two-year option.

To become a lawyer you need a college degree and then a law degree, which will could take you a total of seven years. At top schools, a student could rack up nearly $200,000 in debt and with limited employment options after graduation, academics and law employers want to lessen the burden.

“I understand the motivation to cut the time to J.D. down. I’m not persuaded,” says Roger Dennis, Dean of Drexel’s Earl Macke School of Law.

Dennis spent years working with the American Bar Association, which accredits law schools. He says law school is extremely complex and needs three years, but there could be a way to cut the time.

“If I were king of the world, I might cut the time in undergrad down to make the cost more manageable,” he said.

But cutting law school to two years isn’t too far-fetched, since many legal employers make decisions on hires after the second year of law school.

Dennis says even if the change is made, it could take a while.

“My crystal ball on the future of legal education with regard to the timing issue is very cloudy,” he said.

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