Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Duke Dean Levi Responds to NY Times on the State of Legal Education

Duke Dean David Levi has responded to the recent New York Times article and editorial on the state of legal education with this letter to the editor (which the Times declined to publish):

After 25 years as a prosecutor and a United States District Judge, I came to Duke Law School in 2007 as dean. I was astonished by the breadth and depth of the curriculum. Since I graduated from law school in 1980, the best law schools have hugely extended their curricula to provide a broad range of experiential, professional skills education as well as to address the complexity of modern legal problems, problems whose solutions often call for an understanding of other fields like economics or finance, or require understanding of other legal systems. ...

Just as law practice has changed, so have the law schools. The law school of today is not the law school of The Paper Chase or of Christopher Langdell. But some things have not changed, and we should be glad of it. The faculties of the top schools include leading scholars whose work engages with some of the most important legal problems facing the country and the world ... It is still one of the finest educations in careful and precise thinking, writing, and speaking that can be found anywhere. And it is still a place where some of America’s finest young men and women receive a traditional education in law that prepares them for leadership of a profession and a nation.

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