Thinking or Acting Like A Lawyer? What We Don’t Know About Legal Education and are Afraid to Ask
Book chapter in The State of Legal Education Research: Then and Now and Tomorrow (Ben Golder, Marina Nehme, Alex Steel and Prue Vines, eds. TaylorFrancis/Routledge, Forthcoming 2019
29 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 23, 2019
This essay (the keynote address at International Conference on Research on Legal Education at the University of New South Wales, December 3-5 2017) reviews the “Big Bangs” in American legal education from “thinking like a lawyer” (classical Socratic education), developing legal theory, critical thinking, jurisprudence, critical legal studies, critical race and feminist theory, “acting like a lawyer” (clinical and experiential educaton), “being a lawyer,” (legal ethics and professional responsibility education, socio-legal and law economics study (“law and…….”), and comparative, internationalization and globalization studies. The essay then queries whether “law and technology or artificial intelligence” suggests a new era of legal education or “the end of lawyers and legal educaton” as we know it. (Answer: No). The essay identifies some things we know about these different contributions to legal education, but also suggests important questions that require further empirical study to test the various claims made about the best ways to structure legal education. Should one size fit all? How might the modern world finally come to grips with models of education developed in the nineteenth century that are often still in use. How is legal education variable in different legal systems—are we converging or diverging in legal pedagogy?
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