2-Year Plan Discussed At Law School

A proposal to permit Law School students to complete their courses in two years has been shelved by a special committee of the Law Faculty now looking into the long-range problems facing the School.

The plan's sponsor, however, said yesterday that he will ask for a special meeting of the Law Faculty to discuss his proposal.

David F. Cavers, professor of Law, first presented his plan last May in the Journal of the American Bar Association. The program would reorganize a law school education into two years, each made up of three equal trimesters of about 14 weeks. There would be a six-week recess between the two years of study and about two weeks between trimesters.

Courses Revised

Cavers' proposal condenses the amount of study in a traditional law education into a shorter period of time, by reorganiing the curriculum. The professor claims that it will be a practical means of handling the projected "swelling" of Law School application figures in about 1967.


The program is "not necessarily a prescription for the Harvard Law School alone, but for law education in general," the professor added. According to Cavers, similar programs are in use at the University of Florida Law School and under consideration at the Universities of Michigan and California.

The Cavers proposal has come in for severe criticism by Louis A. Toepfer, Dean of Admissions at the Law School. Toepfer said yesterday he "can't think of this in Harvard terms. Most schools on such a plan report that it is harder for students to produce effective written work, which we have been trying to emphasize here."

Plan's Problems

He suggested that under the trimester plan many law professors would not be able to take vacations when they wanted them, and that competitions for Law Review and moot court would be hard to conduct.

Further problems would arise, Toepfer said, since classroom facilities would never be available for remodeling

But Louis L. Jaffe, Byrne Professor of Administrative Law, said yesterday that he sees some promise in the Cavers plan, since the third year of law school has become one of "diminishing returns." He suggested that adoption of the plan might be practical here "if admissions pressure were to become very great."