Legal Education: Professional Interests And Public Values
Stanford Law School
IN THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE, Oxford University Press, 2000
This paper, which is based on Chapter 7 of a forthcoming book, In the Interests of Justice (Oxford University Press, 2000), provides an overview of problems in legal education. It begins by examining law school structures, and suggests that the current "one-size-fits-all" model ill serves public concerns. Too many students are both over and underprepared to meet societal needs: they are typically overqualified to offer routine assistance at affordable costs, and they frequently are underqualified in practical skills and interdisciplinary approaches. Not only has legal education permitted too little diversity across institutions, it has also provided too little assurance of diversity within institutions. Women and men of color are still overrepresented at the bottom of academic hierarchies and underrepresented at the top. Women and minority students are also more likely to feel silenced in the classroom and to experience harassment outside it. They also report higher levels of disengagement and dissatisfaction with their law school experience. Part of the problem, the paper suggests, involves prevailing educational methods and priorities, which discourage involvement of less competitive students. Such methods also ill serve the needs of other students, by failing to provide the teamwork, practical, and empathetic skills that are necessary in practice. The paper concludes with some proposals for improving the structure, content, and methodology of contemporary legal education.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 2, 2000
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