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Getting a Legal Education without a Law School

Earlier this week, The Washington Post ran an interesting story about "law readers"- people who study law in offices or judges' chambers rather than classrooms.

From the article:


Fewer than 150 aspiring lawyers are getting their legal educations in programs that require no law school whatsoever, according to the bars of the states that allow the practice. . .

Despite some challenges, law readers can achieve big things. Marilyn Skoglund, for instance, sits on the Vermont Supreme Court, and Gary Blasi is a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

"I'm really sort of a bizarre case," Blasi said. "The first time I was ever in a law classroom I was teaching law."

As the only law reader he knows who ended up a professor, Blasi doesn't recommend his route for others interested in teaching law in a university. However, he said there are benefits.

"If I were redesigning the entire legal education system it would definitely provide more of a real-world, mentored experience," Blasi said.


Interesting. Especially Blasi's last comment. Sounds a bit familiar given UW Law School's law-in-action approach to legal education.

It is this law-in-action approach -- in which students learn not only what the law is, but also how the law works-- that helps develop well-educated, thoughtful graduates who are able successfully to bridge the gap between law school and practice. Clinical students receive a rich educational experience, applying the legal theory they have learned in the classroom to help real people outside of the classroom.

Thanks to UW Law Library colleague, Nancy Paul, for sharing this article.