A World Without Law Professors
17 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2009 Last revised: 13 Dec 2012
Date Written: November 4, 2010
Inspired by Alan Weisman’s book “The World Without Us” (2007) I analyse the thought experiment of a world in which law professors suddenly vanished. First, without academic teachers legal training would shift back to the legal professions. Purely professional law schools would provide legal training for future lawyers. This is feasible in both Common Law and Civil Law jurisdictions. These professional law schools can also be involved in a more general provision of legal education. In addition, non-law faculties of universities can take responsibility for teaching on law-related subjects. Secondly, I analyse the impact on legal research. Self-referential research would diminish. Doctrinal research would persist but it would be done by practitioners and the current oversupply would melt down. At universities legal research would continue but it would shift to related fields of social sciences and humanities. Thus, the threshold would be an “academic dinner party test”: legal research would have to show that it is of interest for other academic disciplines. Overall, I would therefore expect some changes; however, legal education and research would not disappear. In some respects, one could even argue that without law professors the quality of both teaching and research may improve. The paper finishes with the implications for the current system.
Keywords: legal education, legal training, legal research, law professors, law schools, law faculties, Civil Law, Common Law
JEL Classification: A12, H52, I23, K00, K39, K49
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