Obama: Law School Should Be Two, Not Three, Years

Brooklyn Law School Says It Should Be 2, 3 or 4

Aug 25, 2013, 16:51 ET from Brooklyn Law School

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Aug. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a town hall-style meeting at Binghamton University in New York on August 23, 2013, President Obama said, "This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck. I am in my second term, so I can say it. I believe that law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years."

The President's remarks were in the context of a nationwide campaign on College Affordability

In connection with the President's comment, Brooklyn Law School announced three months ago, on May 8, 2013, that it is the first law school in the New York metropolitan area to enable students to earn a J.D. in 2 years. 

The new Brooklyn 2-year offering is designed for select students seeking a rigorous legal education in an abbreviated timeframe. Candidates interested in, and qualified for, this type of intense program might be, for example: 1) mid-life or mid-career professionals, including CPAs, MBA graduates, or those from academia desiring legal credentials and a new start; 2) foreign-trained lawyers with strong English-language proficiency; 3) individuals with established career plans following law school; or, 4) adults who seek to reenter the workforce.

According to Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard, "The President's support for a 2-year JD is not surprising.  There is not a legal educator in the country who is not considering making law school better, more efficient, and more relevant to the new world of law.  That's why at Brooklyn Law School we are offering a rigorous 2-year accelerated JD Program to students who can handle doing three years of work in 24 months.  But, a 2-year program is only one piece of the puzzle."

Allard further explained that simply adopting a 2-year program does not, in and of itself, provide the answer for every student.  "There is no one size fits all," Allard noted. 

With the creation of the program, BLS will offer, starting in 2014, a range of flexible 2-, 2.5-, 3-, 3.5- or 4-year options—called "Brooklyn 2-3-4"—to adapt to prospective students' needs. Brooklyn Law School is the first in the New York metropolitan area to enable students to earn a J.D. in 2 years.

Allard added, "An academically sound 2-year JD program fits the demands of today's world – and being old fashioned is not an option.  While our faculty and board demand innovation, and this 2-year program is just one of several, they also insist and ensure that any new educational initiatives be high quality and prudent.   We have to answer, like the Kosher hot dog company, to a higher authority: The American Bar Association, The American Association of Law Schools, as well as the rules governing Bar admission to practice law in each state. 

"These high standards assure that all law schools avoid innovations that are fads.  We don't implement academic versions of passing fashion or dance crazes like the Nehru jacket, or Macarena." 

Allard also said that it is important that other law schools adopt similar innovation including a 2-year JD program.

"When you look at the demand for jobs where a JD is preferred in areas like compliance and risk management, energy law, privacy rights, increasing educational programs that offer more flexibility for people to get a JD will be important.  There will be increasing pressure to get law students ready for practice as quickly as they can be well trained.  More law schools offering a 2-Year JD will be an important part of the solution."

Beyond the 2-year JD, Brooklyn Law School has innovated programs to ensure that the third year of law school is even more valuable.  These include programs, as the President has encouraged, that give students more work experience.  Examples are a business boot camp that provides basic training in business fundamentals, fellowships in public sector legal services that lead directly to employment, a year abroad to earn a foreign LLM degree, and a semester in Washington DC for experience in government service.


Now celebrating its 112th year in legal education, Brooklyn Law School is an independent institution, unaffiliated with any university or college, and the only law school in what would be the 4th largest U.S. city, were Brooklyn an independent municipality.  The Law School offers a vibrant intellectual community emphasizing teaching excellence, cutting-edge scholarship, and an innovative academic program designed to prepare students for public service, business, and private practice, nationwide and across the globe. 

SOURCE Brooklyn Law School