By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As ideas of reducing the amount of time students spend obtaining a law degree are currently being debated, one law school is putting such as scheme into action. The State of New York University at Buffalo Law School has announced that it will permit foreign lawyers to have an opportunity to obtain their law degree in an accelerated two-year program.
"If you're looking at this as an 18-year-old in another country, you think, 'I can be a lawyer in my country and a New York lawyer.’ It's a big value proposition," David Westbrook, a Buffalo Law professor and director of the school's global strategic initiative, told the New York Law Journal.
To apply for the program at SUNY Buffalo, the applicant would need to hold a law degree from a facility outside of the United States.
Brooklyn Law School (BLS) is currently looking into a similar option for students with no prior legal degree. The idea of a earning a law degree in as few as two years “is a very serious option,” BLS Dean Nick Allard previously told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“I expect that our faculty and our Board of Trustees will be considering a two-year proposal before the end of the semester,” Allard continued. Under BLS’s version, students will be able to complete the law program and earn their Juris Doctorate in two years
“Under our proposed plan,” said Allard, “students will be able to obtain the same amount of accredited hours as a three-year Juris Doctorate candidate but in a shorter amount of time.” BLS’s plan would not be available to everyone.
“This is not a shortcut,” Allard noted. “This plan is for a special group of people who can take on the course load, are self-starters, and very directed hard workers.”
New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has also displayed interest. Lippman touted the two-year option as economically beneficial to students. Citing the “lousy job market,” Lippman doubted that there “is anyone on the law school faculty or on the bench who would say ‘This is crazy.’”
Lippman admitted that the idea needs to be fleshed out much more. “I don’t know the answer,” said Lippman. “I can say that we want to hear more. It is a fascinating subject.”