Educating Lawyers for Community
45 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2012 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 24, 2012
This Essay addresses the education of lawyers for community. For twenty-five years I have taught within an academic and practice community of lawyers, clients, judges, scholars, and more recently church ministers and their congregations. Throughout these years, the form and substance of community have changed. For most, the form of a community is discernible despite variation in the demographic status and identity of its membership, or the geography and physical space of its assembly. For others, the substance of a community is elusive, its experience of belonging complex and its intrinsic meaning multifaceted. To many lawyers and legal scholars, the substantive meaning of an engaged community, a community where you have to go together, derives in part from individual and collective efforts to fulfill a core normative responsibility of the legal profession, namely to stand as “a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” Under American Bar Association and state ethics rules, that special civic responsibility should guide lawyer performance of the professional functions of representation in advocacy, counseling, and negotiation. The purpose of this Essay is to explore the teaching or pedagogy of community and public citizenship in legal education and professional training. Part of an ongoing classroom study and clinical service project encompassing the education of law students and the continuing training of lawyers, the Essay seeks to integrate several fields of scholarship, notably ethics, education and psychology, law and religion, and the lawyering process. Bracketed by these overlapping fields, the Essay proceeds in four parts. Part I constructs the pedagogy of community and public citizenship from legal and theological materials on mindfulness and spirituality. Part II locates the pedagogy of community and public citizenship in an outcome-based, rotation curricular model of legal education. Part III assesses the pedagogy of community and public citizenship in terms of conventional notions of lawyer role and function in the adversary system. Part IV evaluates the functional compatibility of the pedagogy of community and public citizenship with the curricular form and content of contemporary legal education.
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