The Law School Examinations are about to undergo the renovation earlier proposed by Dean Pound. In addition to six course examinations, the third year student in the School will now be subjected to six comprehensive examinations designed to measure his retention of the work of the first two years. By way of compensation, the length of the standard course reviews will be abridged from four to two hours.
For the loss able student, the change will mean that his course examinations must be taken under a disadvantage, it any adequate preparation for the comprehensive test is to be made. For his more successful brother, it will provide a channel for the relaxed energies of third year work, a channel more satisfactory than the present attention to state adjective law with a view to the impending State Bar examinations. For both it will form a measure of general knowledge, and the necessity of integrating that knowledge along broad lines.
But any clear view of the change must resolve itself into distinction between the practical training of the professional school and the liberal functions of the college from which the comprehensive examination system has been drawn. While it is desirable that the graduate of the law school should possess an accurate picture of his field as a whole, the concept of rigorous training must suffer through a shifting of third year emphasis from the substantive law of the courses to a review of past work. The application of comprehensive examinations to the more rapid tempo of law school instruction cannot be satisfactory without more fundamental revisions than the present decision suggests.