Law School Industry Czar’s Ukase I – The Mission

As you may have read, I am campaigning to be appointed Law School Industry Czar (“LSI Czar”) based on the platform that law schools have failed students, graduates/lawyers and the public. To allow time for public input, I am publishing now the Ukases (edicts of the Czars) I expect to promulgate upon taking the position.

For future reference there will be frequent references to my two bibles: the first is Legal Education and Professional Development – An Educational Continuum – The Report of The Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap published by the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in 1992 (“MacCrate Report”).

The second was also published in 1992 and is titled The Deeply Unsatisfactory Nature of Legal Education Today – A Self-Study Report On The Problems Of Legal Education And On The Steps The Massachusetts School Of Law Has Taken To Overcome Them. (“MSL Report”).

Some law school deans have expressed the concern that compliance with my Ukases may cause them to be in conflict with the ABA council that accredits law schools. Not to worry. The US Department of Education recently named the LSI Czar as the recognized national agency for the accreditation of legal education programs leading to a first degree.

LSI Czar Ukase I

Every law school will immediately review its mission – that brief statement that describes its purpose. While there will be no mandatory provisions, law schools will be looked upon favorably (take that as you will) if it contains provisions about training lawyers to practice law and about serving the legal needs of the public such as that which can be found on the website of Stanford Law School:.

“Stanford Law School’s basic mission has not changed since Nathan Abbott’s day: dedication to the highest standards of excellence in legal scholarship and to the training of lawyers equipped diligently, imaginatively, and honorably to serve their clients and the public; to lead our profession; and to help solve the problems of our nation and our world.”

Within 60 days each law school will submit to the LSI Czar, based on its mission statement, a detailed outline of its goals (the broad outcome), strategies (the approaches to be taken), objectives (measurable steps to achieve the strategies) and tactics (the tools to be used).

As an example, suppose your mission includes helping to solve the problems of our nation. One goal might be to have your graduates prepared to provide competent representation to those combatting global warming. A strategy would be to develop a comprehensive educational plan that included courses, term-time employment and summer positions on relevant environmental issues. An objective might be to have ten (10) students secure positions working in the field at graduation (so you can measure the extent of your success). The tools would include: promotion of this major to the students; course descriptions that include what skills will be taught, a comprehensive list of all lawyers and organizations working on global warming and faculty assigned to each enrolled student to provide guidance and networking.

An even more favorable view will be taken of a law school if its mission statement incorporates Section EC 1-1 of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility.

“A basic tenet of the professional responsibility of lawyers is that every person in our society should have ready access to the independent professional services of a lawyer of integrity and competence.”

As we work together to improve legal education, I hope we will all keep in mind something that Barack Obama said during his campaign:

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”