To Dress for Dinner: Teaching Law in a Bureaucratic Age

46 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2018 Last revised: 6 May 2018

Date Written: 2018


A significant change in economic or social life is likely to change the meaning of higher, including graduate, education for students. The changes that followed the Great Inflation of the 1970s and the Great Recession that began in 2008 surely did. Teachers experience such changes as a gradual alteration of the interests and expectations found in the river of students passing through their classrooms. Eventually, a gradual shift in these interests and expectations can no longer be understood as a difference in degree, but as a difference in kind. For an honorable teacher, the experience of such a difference in kind poses the question of what should be done when ingrained teacher expectations seriously diverge from the reality that is the lives of students. I explore this question by contrasting my understanding of what it is to be a teacher with the understanding of a figment of my imagination, an Aristotelian teacher, a comparison made with the aid of two good stories: A novel, The Leopard, by Giuseppe Lampedusa, and a movie, Wild River.

Keywords: Legal Education, Economic and Social Change, Law Teachers, Law Students, Law and Literature

Suggested Citation

Schlegel, John Henry, To Dress for Dinner: Teaching Law in a Bureaucratic Age (2018). 66 Buffalo Law Review 435 (2018).; University at Buffalo School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-015. Available at SSRN:

John Henry Schlegel (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-2746 (Phone)

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