Obama: Law school should be two years
August 23rd, 2013
02:31 PM ET
8 months ago

Obama: Law school should be two years

(CNN) – President Barack Obama argued Friday that the amount of time it takes to obtain a law degree should be shortened as a way for students to save money.

"This is probably controversial to say but what the heck? I am in my second term so I can say it," the president told an audience at Binghamton University in New York. "Law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years."

The Harvard law grad and former law school professor said students would be better off clerking or practicing in a firm in their third year, even if it meant working at low wages.

"Now, the question is can law students, can law schools maintain quality and keep good professors and sustain themselves without that third year? My suspicion is that if they thought creatively about it, they probably could," he said.

The president was in New York on the second day of his two-day bus tour Friday to promote his plan to make college more affordable. He later speaks at an event in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Vice President Joe Biden.

"Sometimes when I talk to college professors and keep in mind I taught in a law school for ten years so I am very sympathetic to whether the spirit of inquiry and the importance of not just looking at X's and O's and numbers when it comes to measuring colleges. But what I also know is that there are ways we can save money that would not diminish quality," he said.

Obama also reiterated that he favors the idea of students obtaining their undergraduate degrees in less than four years.

Binghamton University is part of the State University of New York system.


Filed under: Education • New York • President Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. PEPPY

    Jobs pivot?? does this clown every stop the talk, talk tour?? for petes sake do something besides spew b.s.

    August 23, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Nothing At All

    We already have too many useless lawyers as it is. Obama was never a law professor!

    August 23, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Actually Peppy LePieux, the clown departed Washington in January, 2009.

    August 23, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Law schools would probably be wise to think about being two years instead of three years."
    -----------------
    And then work for slave wages at a law frim instead of third year of school? It sounds like too much of a good idea to actually be a good idea. I have a better idea. Why not address the real problems like the high cost of tuition?

    What else drives up the costs of higher education? Professors make you buy their mulit-hundred dollar books for the course that they teach. Institutions have been building expensive, fancy facilities to attract new students.

    We need to build more colleges and universities. An ever increasing pool of students are competing for entrance into the same schools that have been around for decades, so demand is high and so are prices.

    August 23, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Lots of luck with that........they don't know anything NOW, when they get through school.

    August 23, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Thomas

    He's right , Two years and a year paid internship !

    August 23, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. The Great Pontificator

    Anything can be made cheaper by cutting content. I shudder to hear his way of cutting health care costs. "What, one physical a year?? You don't need that, reduce it to one physical every 10 years". Yes that cuts costs but also cuts the quality. Get ready for the market to get flooded with really poor lawyers.

    August 23, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Richard Long

    Just what the economy needs! More vampiric lawyers let loose upon helpless US civilians!

    Stubbed your toe in a store? Sue the store for not properly protecting you. The store will then pass the cost to other customers.
    Slight discoloration of your stubbed toe due to the natural healing process? Sue the doctor for malpractice! The doctor will have to put more money into malpractice insurance and pass the cost to other companies.

    Watch daytime TV for an hour and count the number of lawyers promising big money for your 'pain and suffering'. Yes, Mr. Obama, we need more lawyers...

    August 23, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. Name Uche Agonsi

    Yeah if university students have clear idea of their course outlines for the full period, it could be done. To make it easier for the differing categories of students, graduation periods will have to be created and made optional for students. The excellent ones would graduate faster with the weak ones going for more months,etc. In this computer era, it might be even for shorter period than the POTUS suggested for brilliant students.

    August 23, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "This is probably controversial to say but what the heck? I am in my second term so I can say it,"
    -------
    Couldn't say this in his first term? If that is how he feels, that is how he feels! At the same time I doubt this will change how law schools operate.

    August 23, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. just saying

    hahahahahaha!!! obama the know it all thinks he now knows better than the rest of the world how long college degree programs should take! sure, why not?! and at the same time we can shorten all the engineering prgrams too. why the heck do they need all that math and science anyways?!!

    obama is proving himself more and more to be nothinbg but a useless blow hard devoid of any real world experience.

    August 23, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. truth hurts but reality bites

    Interesting that Obama would suggest that people can save money by cutting back on their time in school while hehasn't been able to save any money in the $3.5 TRILLION dollar federal budget. Shouldn't he focusing his time and energy on running the government efficiently and not on telling schools how they should be run? Or is this just another BS distraction speech?

    August 23, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Gurgy

    Exactly. Two years should be more than enough. It is way of sucking your money in the pretext of education. These raw grads do not even know mensria principle, nor res judicata, nor res subjudice, nor lis pendense. Nor res jestae,

    August 23, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. ????

    How would he know, he never practiced law.

    August 23, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    " I shudder to hear his way of cutting health care costs. "What, one physical a year?? You don't need that, reduce it to one physical every 10 years". "

    I shudder to think you fancy yourself as having paid any attention to the health care reform debate. Obama couldn't have been clearer about his support for preventative care, regular physicals, testing/screening, etc. That you would even suggest he would say what you just proposed shows you slept through the past 5 years.

    August 23, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. The Messiah has Spoken!!

    O Great One! Please, pleaswhat are your words of wisdumb on how long people should be on umeployment and welfare and food stamps???!!! Those programs are endless yet you think schools take too long??? Is not a lifetime on the government teet too long as well??? Please weigh in o great and almighty Obama!!

    August 23, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "while hehasn't been able to save any money in the $3.5 TRILLION dollar federal budget."

    Deficits:

    FY09 – $1.413T (this one belongs to Bush)
    FY10 – $1.294T
    FY11 – $1.300T
    FY12 – $1.087T
    FY13 – $973B
    FY14 – $744B

    Obama has reduced it by almost HALF since Bush's last budget. Your lies are pathetic.

    August 23, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein

    We should be talking about making all medical programs less expensive rather than law school. We don't need doctors, nurses and other medical practiioners saddled with debt.

    August 23, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Gunderson

    Two years?
    no, no. Old Gunderson have 3rd grade education. Now tell company how run business you know. Save money? Imagine Big Spender want save money. Maybe there a God after all.

    August 23, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |