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Task Force Explores Need For Practical Skills Training

Publication Date: 
June 01, 2012
California Bar Journal
Amy Yarbrough

Dean Larry Kramer commented on the new Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform's debate over whether to adopt a practical skills training requirement for individuals practicing law in California. The California Bar Journal's Amy Yarbrough wrote the following story:

Concerned that law school students aren't learning the nuts and bolts of lawyering, the State Bar has assembled a group to study whether practical skills training should become a condition of practicing law in California.

The new Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform will consider whether to adopt a practical skills training requirement for being admitted to practice law and, if so, how long that training should be and what it would entail. The task force plans to hold the first of three hearings on the issue June 11 and release its recommendations before the end of 2013. Any change would require California Supreme Court approval.


Larry Kramer, dean of Stanford Law School, said he agrees that law school students need to learn practical skills, but called the State Bar's actions “premature” considering the number of practical skills courses already being offered or developed.

“It will become political,” he said of the discussions around a new training requirement. “If things were really bad and there was no movement, it might be a different thing.”


Kramer said Stanford has been refining its practical skills education for years and now has a clinical program taken by 75 percent of its students. He said he worries about those efforts being interrupted.

“Anytime they step in, this stifles innovation,” Kramer said.