Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I began this series with the question: Why Is the Legal Academy Incapable of Standing Up for Itself? Paul Campos thinks we are doing far too much of that, going so far as to compare those of us who think legal education is worth defending with Holocaust deniers. Fortunately for us, I suppose, this blog isn't on anybody's radar, but in any case I think it bears noting that I value the contributions of people who have shed critical light on legal education, although I don't agree that it is anything approaching a scam. I have gained valuable insights from the work of Law School Transparency, Brian Tamanaha, Deborah Merritt, and Bill Henderson on our sister blog, The Legal Whiteboard, among others.
That said, there is another side of the story. Legal education is constantly re-forming itself in fundamental ways. Clinical education has only been with us since the 70s; legal writing programs took off in a major way in the 80s and 90s. Both represent fundamental shifts in pedagogy in response to perceived deficits in the legal education model. Those programs continue to develop and expand, now supplemented with robust ASP programs. All of these things jack up the costs of legal education and all in the name of better preparing students for the profession. Nobody is fiddling while our students burn. In fact, at this point, it is clear that everybody in the debate passionately believes that they have the best interests of our students at heart, and I do not doubt their sincerity.
Meanwhile, just when you thought it was safe to read what the New York Times has to say about legal education, we get another one-sided piece based on a few anecdotes and one piece of scholarship. I thought I had a lot to say in response, but others have beaten me to it, so I will just provide the links:
Links to Related Posts:
The Current Series
VIII: Myanna Dellinger, Caveat Emptor and Law School Transparency
VII: Myanna Dellinger, On Issue-Spotting and Hiding the Ball
VI: Issue Spotting: A Response to a Comment
V: Did Legal Education Take a Wrong Turn in Separating Skills and Doctrine?
IV: What Is the Place of Core Doctrinal Teaching and Scholarship in the New Curriculum?
III: My Advice to Law School Transparency: Declare Victory and Move On
II: SLOs and Why I Hide the Ball (and Why You Don't Have To)
I: Why Is the Legal Academy Incapable of Standing Up for Itself?
Related Posts form 2012:
Thoughts on Curricular Reform VI: Preparing the Academically Adrift for Practice
Thoughts on Curricular Reform V: A Coordinated Curriculum and Academic Freedom
Thoughts on Curricular Reform IV: The Place of Scholarship in the 21st Century Legal Academy
Thoughts On Curricular Reform III: The Costs of Change
Thoughts on Curricular Reform II: Teaching Materials
Thoughts on Curricular Reform I: The Problem