Northwestern to Offer 2-Year JD

Always the innovator in one of the most sclerotic and hidebound industries on the planet, Northwestern Law School will be offering a 2-year JD, as reported in today's Chicago Tribune.

Even more exciting is that the 2-year JD students will be the first to take newly required classes in accounting, finance, and statistics. I have long told rising 1Ls that the best class they can take while in law school is financial accounting. You shouldn't even be sitting on a local PTA board without being able to read a financial statement, let alone work as a lawyer.

From the article:

"We don't intend to put out a generation of accountants or business analysts, but we do hope to put into the workplace alumni who have a better grounding in the kinds of issues that they will face from their client's perspective," said Mascherin, a Northwestern alumna and member of one of the focus groups that helped shape the new curriculum. "Clients don't like lawyers who can spout legal analysis but can't do strategic analysis."

Expect lots of sniping from other top law schools. Unlike other top schools, though, Northwestern requires work experience, and someone who has already been out in the working world will have a much clearer and more targeted idea about what he wants out of his legal training than your typical college senior. In any event, the market for legal talent will soon tell us how graduates of the 2-year program stack up against their 3-year counterparts.

I say: Northwestern rocks.