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

University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-24

28 Pages Posted: 9 May 2015 Last revised: 14 Oct 2015

See all articles by Robert Rubinson

Robert Rubinson

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

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

Rubinson, Robert, The Holmes School of Law: A Proposal to Reform Legal Education Through Realism (April 1, 2015). Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 33-57, April 2015; University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2603779 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2603779

Robert Rubinson (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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