Legal Education and the Ethics of Acceptance

14 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2018

See all articles by David McGowan

David McGowan

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: June 14, 2018


Legal education has been criticized on practical grounds and certain schools have faced legal challenges. This paper uses a network of contracts approach to discuss positive and normative ethical issues raised by the current structure of legal education. I argue that the current structure provides incentives to treat law as an object of study rather than as a practice, thus frustrating normatively reasonable student expectations, though expectations that are not likely to be recognized as a matter of positive law. I argue for relaxed regulation of schools, to encourage experimentation that might better align reasonable student expectations with the service students receive.

Keywords: Legal Profession, Legal Ethics

Suggested Citation

McGowan, David, Legal Education and the Ethics of Acceptance (June 14, 2018). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 18-354, Available at SSRN: or

David McGowan (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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