No matter how entrepreneurial our law schools become, they still have much to learn from their cousins in the US. Obiter was amused this week to learn from the American Bar Association that leading law schools have been paying their alumni salaries to work in public service for a year, and even setting up their own public-interest practices.

George Washington University spends 4% of its budget on such initiatives.

This fine gesture of commitment to access to justice is not entirely altruistic. Apart from helping students get a foot on the ladder, the wheeze boosts the schools’ ratings on an authoritative league table published by US News of graduates going straight in to paid work.

Given the current state of the jobs market, it is apparently well worth investing a few million dollars a year to be able to show that, for example, 97.5% of the class of 2012 had a job on graduating.

Given the competitive state of the legal education market and the yawning gaps in service left by legal aid cuts, can it be long before the practice crosses the Atlantic?