Interesting article in the Stanford Daily today analyzing the value of the third year of law school.
My opinion is, and has always been, that law schools should get rid of that third year. It is expensive. It is unnecessary. But I think it will be a cold day in hell before law schools actually do such a thing. We can all dream, though, can’t we?
“That’s why people say the third year is unnecessary,” Choi said. “You could take all your electives in the second year and then just be done.”
Agreed. I didn’t attend Stanford Law, but I think this is pretty universally true no matter where you went to law school. This student interviewed in this Stanford Daily article has the right idea:
“It should be three, but the third year should be officially incorporated with some sort of apprenticeship”
Again, I think law school should be no more than two years, and then law students should be able to take the bar, hopefully pass, and get out there right away to start practicing law. However, since the third year is likely not going anywhere anytime soon, every law student should treat the third year as an opportunity to get out there and get real world experience.
Get an externship, be a law clerk, work at a public interest firm–the options for what to do are endless, and this is a great time to do something you are passionate about. What matters is that you get out there and get your hands dirty.
This is especially true for law students who did not get a BigLaw job through OCI, and/or did not secure a judicial clerkship yet. The third year can be used to gain and hone your skills, meet lawyers practicing in areas that matter to you, and better position yourself to snag the legal employment you desire once you graduate.
You are stuck with that third year. So you might as well be smart about what you do with it.
Check back soon to read about how I spent my entire third year as a federal judicial extern, despite my law school’s policy restricting externships to just one semester. Sure, I had some uncomfortable conversations with the registrar, but it was worth it. It was one of the best things I did in law school and I recommend that every law student take the year to do something extraordinary.
Do you have a story to tell about how you spent your third year of law school? Get in touch, we would love to hear from you: