Law Schools and the Changing Environment of the Legal Profession


As part of "Conversations with History" series Prof. Harry Kreisler of UC Berkley’s Institute of International Studies interviews Prof. Daniel B. Rodriguez, Dean of Northwestern Law School, former president of Association of American Law Schools (AALS), and fellow Harvard Law School alum (as well as classmate of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan).

In addition to talking about Dean Rodriguez's background and how he became a lawyer, in "Law Schools and the Changing Environment of the Legal Profession" they discuss topics  like:

  • Importance of mentoring

  • His law school education and interest in public law

  • How and why legal education's attitude has changed toward the teaching of public law, federalism, and state and local law

  • Necessary skills and temperament for attorneys, and how that's also changed over time (including intellectual rigor and humility)

  • The changing status of the legal profession from a noble profession / guild to big business, and how that affects law school education

  • The skills and temperament necessary to be a law professor or dean of a law school

  • Challenges of experiential learning, practical skill development, and other innovations in the law school experience

  • The high cost of law school education and how it impacts career choices of new law school graduates

  • The vision of law school education moving forward

  • The entrenched hierarchy in law firms that prevents new lawyers from advancing, and the changing structure and business model of American law firms

A head's up for lawyers interested in becoming tenure-track law professors -- you need another advanced degree on your resume.