NYLS and Harvard partner to discuss the future of legal education

New York Law School and Harvard Law School partnered up to produce a two-day conference called “Future Ed: New Business Models for U.S. and Global Legal Education.” The conference focused on ways to improve law schools, particularly improving the disparities between legal education and legal practice.

“The time has come to make our education more valuable,” announced New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar announced to a room bursting with legal professionals and law school deans.”

The conference sought to address the ways that law schools are falling short. Paul Lippe, chief executive officer of Legal OnRamp said “law school is directionally wrong” and “misaligned with where the world really is.”

A main issue is the failure to teach students the practical skills that will make them useful to legal employers in an increasingly competitive job market. Chester Paul Beach, associate general counsel of United Technologies Corp., insisted that first- or second-year associates are “worthless” these days and that businesses are “not going to pay for people who can’t add value.”

On the second day of the conference, Matasar urged the attendees to “put actions into place” by bringing small groups together to craft proposals for altering law school education. The teams are scheduled to reconvene at Harvard in October 2010 and at NYLS in April 2011.