Students and Practicing Lawyers Identify the Ideal Law Professor

Douglas D. McFarland

Mitchell|Hamline School of Law

January 1, 1986

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 36, p. 93, 1986

Three self-images of American law professors were discovered and described in an earlier article: the Caring Liberal Arts Teacher, the Teaching Lawyer and Activist, and the Tough Humanist Scholar. These differing self-images, or self-personae, were found to be in conflict and competition with one another, and this dynamic was suggested to be a powerful explanation for the continuing schism in legal education between the academically oriented and the practice training oriented. To add perspective to the images of law professors, this researcher collected additional data from two other groups of subjects: law students and practicing lawyers. A combined humanistic-empirical method – paralleling the method of the earlier study – was employed. These subjects were tested for their images of the ideal law professor. This article first reports the ideal law professor personae found by the method to be held by law students and by practicing lawyers, and then discusses implications of the findings.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: Law professor, personae, caring teacher, Socratic teacher, anti-Socratic practitioner, tough thinking trainer, legal education, law school, teaching methods

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Date posted: November 19, 2011  

Suggested Citation

McFarland, Douglas D., Students and Practicing Lawyers Identify the Ideal Law Professor (January 1, 1986). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 36, p. 93, 1986. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1955286

Contact Information

Douglas D. McFarland (Contact Author)
Mitchell|Hamline School of Law ( email )
875 Summit Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
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