The Law School will begin exposing students to career options other than corporate law, Law School Dean James Vorenberg '49 said Wednesday.
At Wednesday's law school faculty meeting, Vorenberg also said that the school will begin looking into the possibility of de-emphasizing the importance of law students' first year.
According to a transcript of his speech released yesterday, "We should recognize that students' exposure to the world of large-firm practice is intense." Consequently, students should be exposed to alternative careers, Vorenberg added, "so that they feel they are making choices, not just following a beaten and easy track."
The dean then made two proposals to help widen students access to information about other careers:
*A survey of Law School graduates to determine "the paths they take in the years after they leave and the effects of their experience here" and
*A pilot project to provide interest-free loans to law students who take public sector jobs next summer, at least until after graduation.
Concerning emphasis on the first year of law school, Vorenberg cited a broad consensus among faculty and students that "there is a maldistribution of intensity and interest between the first and the last two years of a law student's program."
The lack of classroom participation in the second and third year classes prompted the law faculty's controversial decision last year to grade in-class participation. But Vorenberg in effect blamed apathy among second- and third-year law students on hiring practices. Law Review selection, and other factors that make the last two years of Law School anticlimactic.
Vorenberg suggested that if the faculty revives the issue, tabled last spring, it will consider "the broader goal of increased student interest and incentives in the second and third years."
"The Law School is finally accepting responsibility for what students do after they leave." Professor of Law Richard D. Parker said yesterday about Vorenberg's speech. "The situation has been crying out for a very long time."
Professor of Law Hal S. Scott agreed, saying. "Overall: I thought it was an excellent speech, particularly from the point of view of trying to establish some sort of agenda."
Scott added that the dean's address gave an Profession, a study begun last year to invested students; and computer learning, among others.
These programs include the Program on the Profession, a study begun last year to investigate the nature and direction of the legal profession; a year-old series of teaching workshops; the expansion of clinical positions at the Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, an experimental section for first-year law students; and computer learning among others
It is not clear what will come of the proposals made by the dean, particularly concerning the big issue of lackluster upperclassmen but "the fact that the whole generic issue is raised in this way may open up discussion Professor of Law Richard B. Stewart said yesterday