MILLER: A lot. In a world where the legal
employment market is a challenging one,
where people are making a lifetime kind of
choice and for a costly legal education, I
think students have three general questions,
and I think you have to be transparent on all
fronts. They want to know if it’s a good law
school: Will I be well trained? What’s different? They also want to know about experiential things—your teachers, your clinics—and
if when they come out they will be ready to
work in the profession. And they want to
know the cost.
AZAT: And how are things on the employ-
MILLER: Our grads continue to practice as
lawyers. When I talk to our alums, they like
being a lawyer. They’re proud of it. They like
the profession. That’s true when I talk to
people three years out who’ve been wrestling
with this economic downturn. It’s true when
I talk to people 30 years out. But a prospective student should get the clearest, most
honest, most accurate and most detailed
employment information a school can provide—good, bad or ugly.
AZAT: And you’re pleased with the school’s
MILLER: We’ve often done relatively well in
a tough market. There’s years where we’ve
done less well. We don’t post just the good
years. And it’s not just a fair question; it goes
to the essence of what you ask. This is part of
a national debate.
AZAT: Law school statistics continue to be
a controversial and contentious topic—espe-
cially the numbers of graduates employed
nine months out.
MILLER: Many do quibble about when we
AZAT: Do you think taken as a whole rank-
measure and how we measure. Some law
school deans say it’s hard to measure at all.
But it’s not hard to measure. Are the gradu-
ates licensed as a lawyer? Are they providing
legal services to government or individuals
or a business? We absolutely can report and
describe what our students do. There are
other schools saying, “I think these employ-
ment numbers are so misleading,” and I find
myself pushing back very hard on that con-
ings are a useful tool, or have they coarsened
education and forced some schools to play
MILLER: There are national stories we’ve
seen about some very good schools that have
done things that are not in line with the kind
of ethics we hold. But there’s not a lot of
information out there that helps prospective
students or their families compare schools. I
deeply wish that U.S. News had been more
serious and more conscientious about the
kind of analysis it set up. I think there’s lots
and lots of ways of assessing schools with
objective reviews that are much deeper and
more grounded than what they’ve done. But
if I were in the consuming end, I would want
somebody to help me understand what the
differences in outcome or in kind might be.
AZAT: And among all data, employment
data have risen to be most important.
MILLER: I think having employment data as
part of a measure of a school is great. One of
the issues that’s come up over time is, are
jobs real or manufactured? That takes a very
important category and undermines it.
AZAT: Shifting gears: You’ll soon have some
third-year students taking the bar exam in
February. And you were one of the original
advocates of this pilot project.
MILLER: I was, along with Professor Jack
Chin [formerly at the UA Law School, now
at the UC-Davis Law School].
AZAT: How did the idea start?
MILLER: The idea began when Jack asked
why medical students get to take their qualifying exams while they’re still a student, and
we don’t allow that? I had been thinking a lot
about what the coherent story for the third
year of law school is. We know the first year
is building blocks, the second year is beginning to develop areas of expertise and being
exposed to clients under the supervision of
lawyers. Is the third year just more of two?
And what had been striking me, and in con-
versations with others, is it’s your transition to
Do you really need a sixth semester of a
professor, however good, in front of a room
with a casebook dealing mostly with appellate
cases, asking about the holding and the theory and the facts?
We had Sally Rider join this conversation
early on and then we started talking, as we do
here, around the faculty.
AZAT: What were your next steps?
MILLER: Early on, we went to speak to Chief
Justice Berch. In part, that’s out of huge
respect for her; we knew she had been actively involved in the UBE [Uniform Bar Exam]
and knew a lot about examinations. But if
she and her colleagues were not interested, it
would be good to know if this struck them as
a bad idea right off the bat.
AZAT: But she was open to considering it?
MILLER: Yes. She even picked up the phone
and called her colleagues and said, Marc and
Sally are here, and if you’re in chambers, drop
by if you have a few minutes. Two others
were. She said, of course, I don’t know how
we’ll feel about this when it’s fully formed,
but this is intriguing. So I went to talk to
[ASU Law School Dean] Doug Sylvester the
next day. We quickly then reached out to the
Arizona Summit Law School and then the
AZAT: It was a long path.
MILLER: It was a long path. It involved just
huge numbers of conversations with individuals, working through formal committees,
thinking through what the implications were
procedurally. There were some expected
objections. As we responded, it picked up
steam and interest. We got a lot of advice from
lawyers and judges who met on their own here
and at firms for almost a year before we knew
if the Court would approve it.
AZAT: So you came up with a course of study
in the third year for this pilot program. Is it
open just to those who will take the third-year
AQ& Marc Miller James E. Rogers College of Law at U of A AZ AT