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The 'Practice Ready' Law Student is a Fantasy, Says Law Professor

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

A recent paper released by a University of Maryland Law professor comments on how the theory of a "practice ready" law graduate is a heavily loaded myth, reports The Wall Street Journal. In a very generalized nutshell, the author is saying: stop blaming your joblessness on your law school.

Professor Robert Condlin, in calling the concept of a practice-ready graduate a "millennialist fantasy," makes a fair point in noting that the BigLaw (and SmallLaw, and MidLaw) job market are often beyond the control of law schools themselves. Each respective legal sector, whether it be a firm practice, non-profit, government, or in a judges chambers, also come with different practical skill-sets required.

Professor Condlin notes that providing law students with practical skills, on top of the academic legal education, is not going to revive the labor market, which is the underlying issue. So, an "A" for effort for all the law schools who are attempting to reinvent and redirect their purpose toward making a student more practice-ready, but, it may be beyond their control at this point. Condlin also articulates that placing students into legal jobs is a part of a school's reputation, and not their curriculum.

While scanning through his paper, I couldn't help but to think: finally. It's one of those situations where someone spells out the truth for you, something clicks, and it finally makes sense. Usually, it's such an obvious one, too. Yet, it's often overlooked because of its simplicity.

This is not to say that being practice-ready may not help you get ahead or land you a job. But, rather, it's that there are a lot of huge, glaring issues with the legal job market today that's often out of the hands of the law school administration, really.

What can be done, despite all of this? Stay tuned, we'll have some tips. In the meantime, remember that if you want to complain about something, there's always your student loans.

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