MacCrate Report: A Restatement of Legal Education - The Need for Reflection and Horse Sense
Arizona State University College of Law
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 44, p. 548, 1994
Legal education has evolved to meet changing needs and visions and has changed significantly over time. Its One issue has been the extent to which it should focus on the skills necessary for actual law practice. While there is general agreement on the substantive and the problem-solving aspects of legal education, the lawyering skills components for a variety of reasons, is less securely established and is still subject to debate. One academic tendency has been to denigrate the skills component as vocational - mere technical training as opposed to education that is intellectual and analytical. Other academics, along with the practicing bar and its institutions such as the American Bar Association, have felt that skills training not only belongs in law schools, but warrants greater emphasis. The ABA's recent MacCrate Report makes that argument.
This essay reviews and assesses the MacCrate Report. The report is a comprehensive study of lawyers' educational and professional development needs. The report's general theme is that lawyers, especially beginning lawyers, are inadequately prepared to handle the necessary lawyering tasks and that they need more instruction in fundamental lawyering skills and professional values - primarily, although not exclusively, instruction in law schools by permanent full-time faculty. The report's vision of legal education is a law school with a strong focus on skills training, derived primarily from what practicing lawyers actually do. As this essay discusses, implementing the report's recommendations would raise several problems, have significant cost implications, and require critical educational tradeoffs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: legal education, legal profession, lawyering skills
Date posted: June 26, 2009 ; Last revised: December 12, 2012
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