Why Not a Justice School? On the Role of Justice in Legal Education and the Construction of a Pedagogy of Justice

42 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2014

See all articles by Peter L. Davis

Peter L. Davis

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Date Written: 2007


Why are law schools not named schools of justice, or, at least, schools of law and justice? Of course, virtually every law school will reply that this is nit-picking; all claim to be devoted to the study of justice. But our concern is not so easily dismissed. The names of institutions carry great significance; they deliver a political, social, or economic message.

This Article contends that not only do law schools virtually ignore justice – a concept that is supposed to be the goal of all legal systems – they go so far as to denigrate it and turn students away from a concern with justice. This Article argues that justice-based advocacy is superior to that traditionally taught in law school; and further asserts that lawyers because of their disproportionate influence in society have a particular need and responsibility to understand and confront fundamental issues of social justice. This Article also discusses what a proposed school of justice would look like, and discusses curriculum which embrace a justice perspective. New pedagogy is proposed, that takes the emphasis off the lawgiver-professor, and puts it onto the student, who must do her work by continually confronting her own concept of what is just. Lastly, the article acknowledges the concern that teaching justice will be time consuming and suggests, that there be a reduction in the case method which will give law professors the necessary time to turn their attention to matters of justice.

Keywords: Justice, law school, legal education, school of justice, professional responsibility, pedagogy, justice orientation, justice-based advocacy, law school curriculum, morality

Suggested Citation

Davis, Peter L., Why Not a Justice School? On the Role of Justice in Legal Education and the Construction of a Pedagogy of Justice (2007). 30 Hamline L. Rev. 513 (2007), Touro Law Center Legal Studies Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2524145

Peter L. Davis (Contact Author)

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center ( email )

225 Eastview Drive
Central Islip, NY 11722
United States

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