4 Ways law schools are adapting to a changing world

Photographer: Douglas Levere

It is no secret that the legal profession has undergone some changes in the last few years, and law schools are having to adapt to those changes.

The theoretical era of learning the law has shifted to a more practical and applicable approach. With advancements in technology and the availability of information online, young lawyers must be able to hit the ground running and know what they’re doing in the courtroom before they even start. In order to properly train the next generations of legal professionals, law schools are adapting be providing more cross-disciplinary, hands-on experiences during law school and accommodating those who may not be able to do full-time in-person classes.

1. More semesters of writing
Lawyers write a variety of documents from basic letters to formal court documents. One semester of legal writing is not sufficient to cover all of the techniques and formality that a young lawyer would need in the workplace. Therefore, law schools are creating additional coursework that focuses on writing so students are skilled and prepared to meet expectations of them.

2. Practical experiences
Externships and clinics offer real-world legal experience under the supervision of a clinical professor. These practical opportunities during law school give students perspective that cannot be taught in a classroom alone. Law schools are increasing their clinical programs and creating them in more legal disciplines to give more opportunity to their students.

3. Online and part-time programs
To make becoming a lawyer more accessible, some law schools offer part-time and online programs. With the possibility of online learning and technology, this is a more convenient and preferable option for people who have full-time jobs or are not physically close to the campus they would like to attend.

4. Requiring cross-disciplinary courses in business
Law firms and not-for-profit agencies are businesses. Many legal job settings require a lawyer to generate business. Law schools have found the offering courses that focus on the business side of the legal profession greatly help their grads become more marketable and more prepared for the demands of their profession.