Students and Practicing Lawyers Identify the Ideal Law Professor
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 36, p. 93, 1986
15 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2011
Date Written: January 1, 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.
Keywords: Law professor, personae, caring teacher, Socratic teacher, anti-Socratic practitioner, tough thinking trainer, legal education, law school, teaching methods
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