In the July Part of the ALJ, Stephen Magee writes a letter to the editor, suggesting that great results in tertiary entrance exams don’t necessarily make great lawyers:
10 June 2014
Your comment on current legal education (“Current Issues: Are law schools producing too many lawyers?” (2014) 88 ALJ 367) did not cover one important point.
My contemporaries, now in our late 50s, often remark that we would struggle to gain entry to law school nowadays, because of the incredibly high entrance marks. Despite this, and excluding myself, those contemporaries are now senior and highly successful practitioners. More recent generations of law graduates may equal them in legal skills, but I have yet to be convinced that their 99.99% HSC results mark them out as superlawyers.
What is in fact happening is that law is increasingly being chosen as a career, not because of any particular aptitude for or interest in the discipline, but simply because one has the HSC mark to gain entrance to a law school.
As a Macquarie graduate from the “bad old days”, I witnessed at first hand the profession’s distaste for that university’s approach to legal education. However, once in practice, Macquarie graduates showed that relatively lower HSC scores and an interest in legal issues beyond Latin maxims were no bar to becoming a competent practitioner (or even a Supreme Court judge). That, surely, is preferable to a situation in which one chooses to study law primarily because one has a stratospheric HSC score and cannot stand the sight of blood.
What drew you to study law? Did you use your law degree to go into practice, or are you doing something else with it? What kind of entry requirements should law schools have? Let us know what you think on Twitter @JournalsTalk, or below in the comments.
Subscribers can read the full July Part of the ALJ here.