This website and a number of other legal news outlets have criticized legal academia over the years. Indeed, most lawyers understand that many law professors have little practical training, and do not prepare law students for life after graduation. In addition, most legal scholarship has no practical impact on the legal profession.
I have a great deal of respect for full-time law school faculty, and many law professors have provided me with positive feedback since I started writing for Above the Law. Furthermore, a number of full-time faculty at the law schools I attended had a profound impact on my life. Nevertheless, it is difficult to argue that many full-time law school professors adequately prepare students for life after law school.
On the other hand, part-time adjunct professors are often more likely to teach law students the skills they need to succeed after graduation, since these professors usually have “day jobs” within the legal profession. In addition, adjunct professors are often paid modest sums of money to teach law school classes. It seems that one of the ways for law schools to help prepare students after graduation, and to decrease costs, would be to hire more adjunct professors.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of adjunct professors is that they usually have much more practical experience than full-time law school faculty. This can be extremely helpful to law students, since adjunct professors are much more likely to import practical knowledge on students than tenured faculty. Many full-time law professors only spent a small portion of their careers a long time ago as practicing attorneys. As a result, they usually have no idea how the rules they are teaching could have an impact on practitioners applying the principles in the field. Indeed, I remember one time, I asked one of my full-time professors if you had to attach an entire deposition transcript to a summary judgment motion or if you could pick and chose excepts to attach. This professor had no idea what the answer was, since he had not been a practicing attorney for decades, even though a practicing attorney would be able to […]