In the February, 1914, number of The Alumnus, devoted in part to the Michigan Law School, some account was given of the large number of new courses which had been added recently to the curriculum. The courses commented upon in that discussion, besides one advanced course in procedure, deal mainly with what may be called extra-legal or at least extra-professional subjects, such as the History of English Law, the Philosophy of Law and advanced courses in Roman Law and Jurisprudence. Prior to this period of expansion in the law curriculum many other additions had been made to the list of subjects covered in the law schools of the country at the time the University of Michigan Law School was organized, in 1859. The result of these additions has been to make the modern curriculum many times as extensive as those offered in the law schools of fifty or even forty years ago. It is indeed a far cry from the old law course of two years, of six months each, to the present crowded course of three years of nine months each. But even these figures tell only part of the story, for in the old days the law, so far as it was taught at all, was treated here and in most other schools of the period in one year, the lectures of the junior year, as it was called, being repeated in the senior year. Today no thought or effort is spared to economize every moment of time of the three years by carefully correlating the various topics of the curriculum and by cutting out, so far as possible, repetitions of even minute portions of the legal field. But despite all that law faculties have been able to do in their efforts to economize in time it long since ceased to be possible to cover the whole field of taught law in three years, and in consequence the best law schools have been forced to adopt the elective principle for all but the fundamental topics in the law. Indeed in some law schools all the courses except those treated in the first year are elective. In the meantime pressure for more time for instruction has developed with accelerating rapidity from another direction. That is to say, besides the recent development of substantially new fields of law, such for example as administrative law and other subjects in public law, the whole field of Anglo-American law has expanded with great rapidity in response to changes in modem industrial and social life. Add to these causes of pressure for more time, the important facts that modern methods of legal education require more time than the old methods, and finally that the American bar, and indeed the entire thoughtful American public, is requiring more thorough training and instruction of its lawyers--add these facts, I say, and the reader will appreciate the quandary in which the law faculty of today finds itself.
Bates, Henry M. "A Four Year Course in Law." Mich. Alumnus 21 (1915): 350-2.