Fumbling Toward a Critical Legal Pedagogy and Practice
Journal of Policy Futures in Education, 2006
Posted: 5 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2006
This article argues that the culture and practice of legal education in the United States functions to dehumanize law students and potentially produce one-dimensional lawyers in the service of corporate interests and the capitalist status quo. These lawyers are trained to serve not only as the guardians of legal rights, social entitlements and privileges of citizenship but also as the vested producers and protectors of the unjust institutions and systems that deny these rights, entitlements and privileges to certain groups and ensure them to others. Drawing on the work of Freire, Gramsci, and Marcuse, critical legal scholars like Lani Guinier, and the history of legal education and the legal profession in the United States, this article uses theory and critical scholarship to read and interrogate the ways in which the current practices and the historical evolution of legal education have functioned and continue to function in the service of capitalism and to the disservice of many of its clients. It also proposes Freirean reforms to the structure of legal education that utilize mandatory clinical education as a means to ensure that legal education and lawyers are multidimensional in their orientation to law and social justice.
Keywords: Pedagogy, Marcuse, Freire, Legal Education
JEL Classification: I21, K10, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation