The alarming decline in recent law school graduate placement has received much attention lately, including an instructive July 11 article in The Wall Street Journal, “Law Schools Get Practical,” noting that more than twice as many people passed the bar exam in 2010 (54,000) as there were legal job openings in the United States. Perversely, at the same time, law schools are prospering financially on the backs of their students by substantially increasing both tuition and enrollment, as The New York Times found in a July 17 article, “Law School Economics: Ka-Ching!

The current recession is, of course, a prime reason for the diminution in available jobs. But The Wall Street Journal article also correctly focuses on another major issue — the disconnect betweencontemporary law school education and the skills needed to be an effective, and therefore employable, lawyer. Unlike other professional schools, such as medicine and business, law schools continue to teach primarily based on a 19th century theoretical model that is good at developing critical legal thinking but severely lacking in teaching practical skills. That void is particularly acute in the business and corporate area.