In the last Law Schooled podcast, student podcasters ask: Should Law Students Get to Have a Say in Legal Education Reform? While the podcasters provide valid reasons for why we should “have a say”, they don’t go far enough.
We students have the right to be heard, and we should be active in shaping our own law school experiences and the direction of legal education reform.
1. We are consumers of a good. That good is our law school education. Some of you may say it was a worthless experience and some of you may always be grateful for having gone through it. Regardless of your feelings about it, now or in retrospect, the fact is that you consumed a good (often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars), and you have the right to inspect that good, critique the good, and as individual stakeholders in the good, influence the development of the good. In other words, you bought it or are in the process of investing more payments into it, and if you think your legal education can be improved, you have a right to be heard when it comes to your thoughts on how to improve it.
2. The world benefits from good lawyers, and we benefit from becoming good lawyers. We inhabit a professional school. This professional schooling lays a foundational stepping stone for future lawyers, judges, politicians, and world leaders. As members of our law schools, we have the right to ensure that our education provides us with the skills, knowledge, and abilities that we need to succeed. And, not just personal success, but the ability to succeed for our future clients while adding value to the wider community and world.
3. In a democratic society, especially if you are at a state funded law school, you have a basic right to be heard as a citizen of your school’s community. Your education has been subsidized by the state so that you may serve citizen interests. Some basic rights in a democratic institution include the ability to speak freely and the ability to vote. Wait, or, am I confusing what democracy is? You tell me. I’m all ears.