It is a pleasure for me to add my voice to this Symposium in pursuit of our shared goal of a better prepared bar. My Brother Clare and his estimable colleagues have labored most conscientiously to produce a proposal that they believe will bring us significantly closer to that goal. I respectfully disagree.
My disagreement does not, however, imply endorsement of all of the criticisms attracted by the report of the Advisory Committee on Qualifications to Practice Before the United States Courts in the Second Circuit (Clare Committee or Committee). To begin with, I do not at all quarrel with the assertion that there is room for improvement of the bar, nor do I make territorial claims for law schools. I acknowledge freely and gratefully that bench and bar have a vital role to play in legal education, and I abjure any and all claims on the part of law professors to exclusive responsibility for continued improvement of the bar. I also disavow with all the emphasis I can muster the notion that the Clare Committee's proposal should be dismissed on the ground of high cost. If this proposal is worth adopting, it is no defense that it might be expensive to implement.
Indeed, so that you will know my own sentiments about the virtue of trial practice instruction, I am proud to report that, at the Columbia Law School during the current academic year, we are offering 9 sections of trial advocacy and 11 sections of clinical work, and I am not counting a number of related seminars. We are, in other words, offering over 20 courses or seminars involving students in the actual performance or simulation of the trial advocate's work.
Michael I. Sovern,
A Better Prepared Bar – The Wrong Approach,
St. John's L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2182