New Legal Realism Goes to Law School: Integrating Social Science in Law and Legal Education
IN: Research Handbook on Modern Legal Realism, Shauhin Talesh, Heinz Klug, and Elizabeth Mertz, eds., 2020, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020
Date Written: February 10, 2020
Legal Realism was both a stunning success and a dismal failure; while it pierced the veil of legal formalism, it failed in its attempt to integrate law and social science. New Legal Realism seeks to address the failings of Legal Realism, by directing greater attention to the challenges of incorporating social scientific insights into legal discourse. In this chapter, I argue that to accomplish the integration of social science and law, legal education must be reoriented to further the goals of New Legal Realism. In particular, I consider how the formal curriculum, hidden curriculum, and law school pedagogy might be reformed to provide skills, knowledge, and values that are consistent with New Legal Realism’s emphasis on empiricism, interdisciplinarity, and social contextualization. Using civil procedure as an example, I illustrate what a New Legal Realist approach to legal education might look like. Acknowledging the institutional and ideological barriers to this approach, I argue that the present moment offers a unique opportunity for New Legal Realism to succeed.
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