Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When I was a doctoral student, I was befriended by an emeritus professor who had taught at that institution for nearly seventy years. He was a historian of international reknown in his field. He had also chaired the department, been actively engaged in university administration and was the first chair of the Ivy League athletic eligibility committee. In addition, he had served for thirty-two years as the Mayor of the small town abutting the university.
When I came to know him, he was at work on a history of the university. He told me that the most important change that he had experienced during his career, which spanned most of the 20th century, was that the department had changed from one in which what mattered most was the esteem in which one was held by one's colleagues and students to one in which what mattered most was the esteem in which one was held by professors at other universities. The change saddened him. It diminished the place's sense of itself as a community defined by a spirit of collegiality and common purpose.
I would like to see some law schools abandon the hope of being imitatio Harvards in favor of becoming imitatio Haverfords (or Oberlins or Grinnells, etc.). Moreover, such a change is what our students need. Increasingly, our students come to us without the benefit of a traditional liberal arts education that prepares them for the challenges of legal practice. Legal education needs to provide that grounding in basic reasoning, professional development, and writing skills before we throw them into the world of practice.
- The Problem (Dec. 7, 2012)
- Teaching Materials (Dec. 10, 2012)
- The Costs of Change (Dec. 11, 2012)
- The Place of Scholarship in the 21st Century Legal Academy (Dec. 12, 2012)
- A Coordinated Curriculum and Academic Freedom (Dec. 13, 2012)
- Preparing the Academically Adrift for Practice (Dec. 14, 2012)