This recent article from the New York Times highlights the key reasons St. Francis School of Law was founded. The article leads with a colorful anecdote, which is reminiscent of a situation the vast majority of law school graduates face upon graduation:
The lesson today — the ins and outs of closing a deal — seems lifted from Corporate Lawyering 101.
“How do you get a merger done?” asks Scott B. Connolly, an attorney. There is silence from three well-dressed people in their early 20s, sitting at a conference table in a downtown building here last month.
“What steps would you need to take to accomplish a merger?” Mr. Connolly prods.
After a pause, a participant gives it a shot: “You buy all the stock of one company. Is that what you need?”
“That’s a stock acquisition,” Mr. Connolly says. “The question is, when you close a merger, how does that deal get done?”
The answer — draft a certificate of merger and file it with the secretary of state — is part of a crash course in legal training. But the three people taking notes are not students. They are associates at a law firm called Drinker Biddle & Reath, hired to handle corporate transactions. And they have each spent three years and as much as $150,000 for a legal degree.
What they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training. Law schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful, with classes that are often overstuffed with antiquated distinctions, like the variety of property law in post-feudal England. Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship, like law review articles with titles like “A Future Foretold: Neo-Aristotelian Praise of Postmodern Legal Theory.”
As an online law school focused on doing things differently, in what we believe (and what many people also now believe) to be the “right” way, the interesting question is: “When will other law schools wake up and realize that they need to start teaching students how to practice law?” At St. Francis, our online law school curriculum is aimed at teaching some of the very skills that corporate clients are beginning to demand—skills such as understanding the ins and outs of litigation, how to draft contracts of a variety of types, how to perform due diligence, and above all, the manner in which business factors influence how legal decisions are made.
Our focus as a top online law school is on delivering the skills that the legal market is demanding, not the outdated skills that many traditional law schools stubbornly adhere to teaching. We are proud to have been founded based on the principle that the more actual practice our online law courses deliver while students are attending law school online instead of on the job, the better our students will fare.