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Michelle Obama Critiques Law School

Trial lawyer Gerry Spence wasn't the only famous lawyer to gripe about legal education last week. In this interview with the Telegraph, Michelle Obama critiques the law school experience (albeit far more gently than Spence, who calls legal education a fraud).

As highlighted by Abony Holmes in The Shark, Obama's major complaint about law school is how it contracts one's perspective, rather than broadening it as an educational experience ought to do. Said Obama:

The thing about these wonderful schools is they can be surprisingly narrowing to your perspective. You can be a lawyer or you can work on Wall Street; those are the conventional options. They are easy, socially acceptable, and financially rewarding. Why wouldn't you do it?

It wasn't until Obama's father and best friend died that she managed to step back and evaluate her decision to practice corporate law, explaining that "I knew I would never feel a sense of passion or joy about the law. I was on a conveyor belt. Law school had just been the next step."

By now, it's no secret that legal education demands reform, and slowly, law schools are evaluating corrective action. At the same time, the very legal education that Obama questions and Spence outright harpoons has brought each of them considerable success, which suggests to me that somewhere, legal education must have some redeeming qualities. Why don't Spence or Obama acknowledge the benefits? 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 29, 2008 at 07:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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