Should Law Schools Teach Professional Duties, Professional Virtues, or Something Else? A Critique of the Carnegie Report on Educating Lawyers
W. Bradley Wendel
Cornell University - School of Law
November 23, 2011
University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Forthcoming
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-32
The recent report on legal education of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching faulted ethics teaching in law schools for emphasizing the law of lawyering over an “apprenticeship of professional identity.” Legal education as it is currently practiced suffers from a preoccupation with “the procedural and formal qualities of legal reasoning” to the exclusion of “the moral and social dimensions,” according to the Carnegie Report. Law schools must therefore keep the analytical and the moral in dialogue. The Report calls upon law schools to take up the challenge of educating lawyers to “strengthen the profession’s sense of public purpose.”
The claim of my contribution to this symposium on professional identity in legal education is the moral and social dimensions of legal reasoning are already embedded within legal reasoning. Legal practice can best be understood as a craft – that is, a distinctive way of doing something called deliberation, practical reasoning, or the exercise of judgment. Legal educators should not over-draw the distinctions made in the Carnegie Report, between the cognitive, expert knowledge, and identity-and-purpose apprenticeships that comprise legal education. Professional identity for lawyers simply is performing well the complex task of representing clients effectively within the bounds of the law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: Professional identity, legal ethics, legal education, Carnegie ReportAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 25, 2011
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