But, he added, students wouldn't leave school with all the training they need, which would put a burden on future employers to nurture new hires.
Brad Saxton, dean at Quinnipiac University School of Law, said his law school has reduced the number of admitted students each year, part of a strategy to become more selective and, as a result, competitive in the New England law school marketplace.
There are now about 400 law students at Quinnipiac, half the enrollment of 15 years ago. This, said Saxton, has made it easier for the law school to find job opportunities for more of its graduates in a tight job market.
Saxton said he's heard discussions that law school is too long, or "it should only be two years."
"But at the same time," he added," others are saying you should do an apprenticeship with a lawyer to get hands on training before you graduate. And then they say, maybe law school should be four years, instead of three."
With that in mind, he said, one idea might be a "multi-tiered" licensure approach, where those who would stay for three years would be qualified to handle more complex legal practices than the two-year grads. Such a system, while it might help students reduce their own dept, would create its own challenges.
For instance, the qualifications needed to perform certain types of legal work would have to be addressed by the state bar and Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. "Maybe that's where law schools are headed, but much of the lawyer regulation that would be needed would have to be addressed," Saxton said.
Contacted last week, some current UConn law students expressed concern that those who graduated from twoyear programs would have a hard time competing for jobs with those who spent three years studying law and received J.D. degrees.
"All of the lawyers that do the hiring went to law school for three years to get a J.D. and that's how it's been for a long time," Michael A. Pellin, a 1L from Suffield said. "I wouldn't want to enter the job market with a master's in law and have a partner ask me why I don't have a J.D."
Linda Cheng, a 2L from New York City, said she recognized that a two-year degree would be a big savings, financially.