The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

A third year too many

LAW STUDENTS whine a lot. It's what they're trained to do. But if you hear a Law student in his third and final year complaining, "I'm so bored with class," "There's nothing good on daytime T.V." or "I'm so hung over," take pity -- not since purgatory has there been a worse use of time as the year "3L."

The third year of law school is little more than a seventh year of liberal arts education, albeit with electives that have something, somehow, to do with "the law." Another year of theoretically lofty thinking isn't itself bad. But taken at a time when most students already have offers for permanent -- and demanding -- employment, another year poking holes in century-old legal theory becomes quaint. When those students are really in need of practical writing, researching, finance and client-management experience, cursory lectures on vast bodies of law and garrulous, theory-addled seminars grow tiresome. And when students are charged north of $30,000 for their third-year experience -- while these students are approaching or surpassing 30 years old themselves -- then we have to wonder whether it's really the best use of our trainees' limited money and time.

Unfortunately, these aren't new concerns. In the 1970s, the American Bar Association's legal education panel recommended allowing two-year programs -