This article will propose that law school education requires extensive reform. It will build upon recent articles suggesting reform, and it will do so by widening focus on the conditions and cause necessitating reform.
I have never served as a professional legal educator. After just short of three years’ practice at an outstanding, small firm in Los Angeles, I became involved directly in the entertainment industry as a businessperson, in such roles as agent, producer, president of a Japanese animation company, business affairs executive at Columbia/TriStar, but most of all as an agent, specializing in the digital entertainment and animation media. While I deal daily with lawyers (a group which abounds in Hollywood!) and remain an active member of the Bar, I do not practice, except for one case in twenty years. I have also savored recently a taste of academia, as a lecturer in the department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. Currently, I am concentrating in the new, interdisciplinary field of knowledge management; indeed, this article is the result of a proposed “module” for further study in my curriculum material described at www.liquidknowledge.info. To the extent this lack of service may undermine my qualifications, I ask the reader to examine the content of the section immediately following. I hope the reader will conclude that section contains a sufficient invitation to me to address the issues discussed in this article.
The Letter From Harvard
My mother recently located and provided me with a copy of a letter addressed to me on the letterhead of the “Law School of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 02138”, specifically its “Admissions Office”, dated July 31, 1973. I had been offered admission at Harvard Law School but had informed them that I would not accept the place offered me. The letter stated, “In order to improve our various admissions policies and procedures, we are very much interested in the reasons you might have for not accepting a place here and, if you would not mind taking the time, we would appreciate hearing from you.”
To the best of my recollection I did not reply. I did not reply because I did not know how to respond helpfully. Now, nearly thirty years later, I feel prepared to do so (I would “not mind taking the time”), and I hope that my reply, contained in this article, will be helpful.