Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Self-Images of Law Professors: Rethinking the Schism in Legal Education

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 35, p. 232, 1985

29 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2011  

Douglas D. McFarland

Mitchell|Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 1985


The American law professor is American legal education. To some, this person is a hero; to others, a villain. People in the legal profession, including law professors themselves, have differing images of a “law professor.” This research attempts to discover and describe those images. The proposition advanced in this study is that this division does not arise from differences of opinion or attitudes among law professors. Rather, the differences arise from the very manner in which law professors perceive themselves and their profession. Each law professor has a distinct self-image, or self-persona. This study finds that there are different personae in the profession, and that they are in conflict. To change a law professor’s view of legal education, one needs to do much more than change an attitude. One must penetrate and change the professor’s self-persona. This entails alteration of a complete structure of social reality. The study begins with a review of the existing literature on the subject of law professors. A brief description of the design of the study follows. The results are presented. The article concludes with discussion of the findings and some related conclusions about the future of legal education.

Keywords: Legal education, law professor, self-persona, self-image, perception, Kelso, Gee and Jackson, legal scholar, activist practitioner, personality, teaching methods, law school

Suggested Citation

McFarland, Douglas D., Self-Images of Law Professors: Rethinking the Schism in Legal Education (January 1, 1985). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 35, p. 232, 1985. Available at SSRN:

Douglas D. McFarland (Contact Author)

Mitchell|Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views