Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Future of Law Schools - New Essay

A new essay in the California Law Review by the Dean there (Christopher Edley, Jr.)discusses the history of American law schools - in terms of their mission - and predicts the direction things are heading.  VERY refreshing after reading so many posts on law professor blogs about how we need to revert to being more like a trade school (teaching skills rather than theory).  I really liked the abstract:
This Essay describes the changing role of American law schools throughout the twentieth century and proposes a vision for the future’s Great American Law School. Since the founding of Berkeley Law, the definition of the legal profession has progressed from an interior orientation, which focused predominately on trial courts and appellate advocacy, to an exterior orientation with wide consideration of other forms of lawyering. Along a second axis, legal pedagogy has progressed from a careerist orientation, which focused on case analysis and advocacy skills, to a more academic orientation that integrates questions of theory and methodology. Analyzing these trends, this Essay suggests that the next century’s Great American Law School will: (1) embrace a curriculum that prepares law students for careers outside the law; (2) train cross-disciplinary societal problem solvers; and (3) contribute to a new global legal culture that will help bring nations closer together generally.
That's sounds like the type of place I would want to be.  I hope my own institution moves in that direction.