Law school administratiors are beginning to appreciate that their students are aware of the “higher education bubble” and the fact that some institutions have ginned-up post-graduation employment numbers to keep their scholars.

Inside Higher Ed reporter Alexandra Tilsley offers details on one school that is trying to innovate their offerings in order to address the current employment environment:

Critics of law schools have two main objections: they’re too expensive and they don’t adequately prepare students to work as lawyers.

New York University is the latest law school to try to address the second issue. Motivated by the 2008 financial crisis, Dean Richard Revesz convened a committee of leading lawyers, all NYU Law alumni, to evaluate the school’s curriculum. The committee found five areas for improvement, and NYU announced Wednesday new initiatives aimed at better training (and training better) lawyers.

The curriculum enhancements include a study abroad option during the third year of law school, a chance to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., a “pathways” program for third-year students who have a specific area of law they want to specialize in, an increased focus on business and financial education, and a leadership development program.

So far, most of the programs are optional, except for a financial literacy course that will be required of first-year students; Revesz said the school will evaluate the effectiveness of the various initiatives and could require them down the road. For now, he expects that most students will opt to take advantage of at least one.

Most of the new programs are aimed at improving the third year of law school, a topic that has been particularly controversial in the discussion of legal education. Since the American Bar Association got rid of its three-year requirement (it now requires a certain number of units instead), there has been much talk about just how necessary that third year really is.

Some law schools have introduced an accelerated option that allows students to earn a J.D. in five semesters, but those students still take the same number of courses and pay the same tuition. Others, like NYU, have tried to revamp the third-year experience, usually by focusing on clinical learning. A survey by the ABA found that between 2002 and 2010, law schools increased all aspects of “skills instruction,” like clinical practice and externships.

“Our feeling was what we should do is make the third year as meaningful as possible,” Revesz said.

The ABA survey also found that 76 percent of curriculum changes were driven by the evolving demands of the job market. That, Revesz said, is largely what influenced the development of the new programs at NYU.

WAJ adds: This will not work.