Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kinda Competent Lawyers/Sorta Guilty Clients

That's the standard Georgia Republicans are fine with when it comes to legal representation and due process for criminal defendants. The AP is reporting that, despite objections from the Board of Bar Overseers, Franklin's bill, noted yesterday, that would allow those who graduate from unaccredited law schools or correspondence schools to sit for the Bar exam, is picking up steam. The bill is backed by powerful Republicans, including Rep. Burkhalter. Coupled with the bill that will require only eleven of twelve jurors to agree to guilt in non-death penalty felony cases, it seems that Georgia Republicans want to simultaneously lower the standards for conviction and the requirements for qualification as a lawyer in this state. How about we allow individuals to practice medicine who have only been to unaccredited medical schools or taken correspondence courses? After all, as Franklin said, we don't want to "loose the expertise of those who cannot afford to go to a 'brick and mortar' school." Then, let's lower the accreditation standards for hospitals. Sound good? Franklin must've hated the smart kids when he was in school.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Historically, to require less education of a lawyer than is currently required would be a step backward to the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.
When I was a child there were still plenty of doctors practicing who had gone directly from secondary school to proprietary medical schools (of some sort) and lawyers who had apprenticed or "read for the law." My dad was one of the latter. His post-secondary education was interrupted by the great economic depression and his career opportunities were interrupted by service in World War II, so I think we can give him a little wiggle room on account of life circumstances. Other members of my family who did not have such an uphill career climb as my father have all gone to "brick-and-mortar" law schools. It's 2007, and shortcuts in legal education are no more defensible than shortcuts in preparation for medicine, dentistry, engineering, accountancy or any other profession. One could argue that passing the bar exam would "prove" the proprietary school or correspondence school candidate to be qualified. Not so. Passing an exam proves does not represent the depth of learning that can be acquired by no other means than hours in specific classes.

On the other hand I would like to see any member of the Georgia legislature volunteer to take the tests that our high school seniors have to take. Not sure what it would prove, but it sure would be fun to score !