Martha Nussbaum and Charles Wolf have published an editorial on Bloomberg that defends the third year of law school.
Some of the comments to the piece impugn the authors as out-of-touch and insensitive to the plight of indebted graduates. However, I think the core point of the editorial is a sound one: In reforming the cost structure of legal education, we have to be careful to not create a system that produces automatons or "passive followers of custom."
M.R. 2.1 suggests that lawyers should "exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice" and "may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors." This is a rather robust vision of the attorney's role, and one that students can have a hard time accepting, particularly when jobs are scarce.
Unfortunately, while there are many legitimate and thoughtful critiques of legal education, some have also bordered on anti-intellectualism. Reigning in costs is vital, but legal education should involve more than the absorption of a collection of black letter rules that are to be deployed or flouted according to the dictates of the client.