Sylvester's 'residency for lawyers' program featured in 'National Law Journal' report

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is featured in a new special report in The National Law Journal about schools, students and professors pushing the boundaries of traditional legal education and legal theory.

The June 4 report, by reporter Karen Sloan, includes an article about Dean Douglas Sylvester’s preliminary plan to create a law firm to prepare graduates for practice in the real world. In the article, “Think of it as a residency for lawyers,” Sylvester said he got the idea during a visit to Mayo Clinic, where the medical residency system provides doctors-to-be that experience under close supervision.

“Rather than sit here and keep rehashing the same debate about whether we should do away with the third year of law school or whether we should require certain elements, we thought, ‘It would make a lot of sense for us to come up with something after law school for those students who do want to have that residency experience,’” Sylvester said.

In the ASU plan, a half dozen experienced attorneys would act as partners, supervising 15 to 30 “resident lawyers,” who are recent law school graduates. The graduates would be paid and receive benefits, and likely would spend up to two years cycling through different practice areas – bankruptcy, family law and corporate organization. It would be a nonprofit, teaching firm that would improve access to justice in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Sylvester said, noting all profits would fund student scholarships.

To read the article, click here.