Since there’s a bunch of lawyers blogging online here at Blog for Arizona (and a bunch of lawyers reading us online), I thought I’d better announce the news that the University of AZ will be offering the nation’s first B.A. in Law. Read about it more in UA News:
The new degree – the product of a partnership between the College of Law and the School of Government and Public Policy in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – is very different from existing legal studies or paralegal programs. Those programs focus on obtaining legal skills for supporting lawyers. This new degree, however, will offer a rigorous foundational education in critical thinking, analysis and complex problem resolution, as well as a deep understanding of law and the inner workings of the legal system.
After completing core courses at the UA School of Government and Public Policy, students in the interdisciplinary program will be required to take core law courses. These courses will provide an understanding of subjects such as property, contracts and torts, constitutional law, administrative law, and civil and criminal procedure. They will be taught by full-time faculty at the law school and designed to train students to “think like a lawyer.”
It sounds like a condensed version of our current 3 year law schools, but these will not be graduates who can practice law. While at the University of Hawaii at Manoa I created my own “pre-law” curriculum with classes such as Business Law, Philosophy of law, Women & Law, prior to going to law school.
Hopefully these undergraduate students will be able to find legal-type jobs with this new B.A. At the least they will learn critical thinking, analysis, and about conflict resolution. And I bet a lot of them will go on to law school anyway.
The UA will also be offering a 3 year + 3 year program for top law undergraduates to fulfill more classes and finish up a law degree in 6 years:
A 3+3 program also will be offered and allow students to complete their Bachelor of Arts in law and a Juris Doctor in six years of study. The 3+3 program will be open to UA law majors with a minimum 3.8 GPA. Students will apply for the program their junior year and, if accepted, take 30 graduate law credits their senior year, as first-year law students. They will spend their fifth and six years completing the remaining 58 Juris Doctor units.
Fellow lawyers, let me know what you think by commenting below. The current system requires a bachelor’s degree (usually 4 to 5 year study) plus the 3 years of law school.