The Holmes School of Law: A Proposal to Reform Legal Education Through Realism
Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 33-57, April 2015
28 Pages Posted: 9 May 2015 Last revised: 14 Oct 2015
Date Written: April 1, 2015
This article proposes the formation of a new law school, the Holmes School of Law. The curriculum of the Holmes School would draw upon legal realism, particularly as articulated by Oliver Wendell Holmes. The proposed curriculum would focus on educating students about “law in fact” — how law is actually experienced. It rejects the idea that legal education should be about reading cases written by judges who not only bring their own biases and cultural understandings to their role, but who also ignore law as experienced, which, in the end, is what law is. This disconnect is especially troubling because virtually all legal education ignores law as experienced by low-income people. The article concludes with responses to anticipated objections to the proposal.
Keywords: law schools, legal education, legal realism, Oliver Wendell Holmes, curriculum, law in fact, cases, judges, biases, cultural understandings, low-income population,
JEL Classification: I21, I29, K19, K39, L84
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation