Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Harvard Law School's New Curriculum: The Impact on Elite Law Firm Placement

Harvard Law School's recently announced changes to its first year curriculum--the most significant changes since Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell instituted the current curriculum in the 1870s--have inspired a significant amount of commentary from faculty, law school administrators, and current law students. The new curriculum, which mandates courses in statutory interpretation, international law, and problem solving, will be phased in over the next several years, with the school likely instituting some of these changes as early as Fall 2007.

My upcoming series of blog posts will not discuss whether this new curriculum is sufficiently innovative, or take a position as to whether the changes herald a major shift in legal education. Rather, I'm going to focus on the issue of utmost importance to current and prospective law students: what impact will the new Harvard Law School curriculum have on the market for summer associate positions?

My first set of posts will discuss the impact the changes may have on the 1L summer associate job hunt. I expect the second set to deal with the effect on 2L OCI (and, by extension, the market for entry-level elite law firm associates). I hope to conclude, in true Moneylaw fashion, with at least one post suggesting some options Harvard may wish to consider to maximize its summer associate placement.

Consider this an open thread to discuss any issues relating to the new curriculum's impact on employment placement, or just the new curriculum generally. For those unfamiliar with the changes or want more information, I'd highly recommend Andrea Saenz's excellent coverage in the HL Record.

* Cross-posted at AutoAdmit.com.

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Anonymous Frankenstein said...

It will have absolutely no impact on law firm placement. Let's be realistic here for a second. Harvard is still Harvard. Hell, HLS could completely gut the 1L curriculum, but Skadden, Watchell, et al would still line up to get first crack at HLS grads.

11/21/2006 4:45 PM  
Blogger Luis Villa said...

The much better question would be 'does curriculum have any impact on top-tier placement at all?' Given how poorly the curriculum appears to prepare one to actually be a lawyer, and how often I hear 'you learn what you need to know at a firm anyway' the answer would seem to be 'no'.

11/21/2006 5:22 PM  

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