Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Warren Burger's thoughts about preparing legal advocates

Some thoughts by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger about preparing legal advocates were Burgerrecently republished in the Fordham Law Review.  The piece originally appeared in 1973 and was based on a speech Burger gave at Fordham. After lamenting the quality of advocacy in U.S courts, the Burger praised the work of English advocates, who go through a selection process. Burger then criticized law schools for not providing “adequate and systematic programs” to teach advocacy. That, of course, has changed since 1973, as professors of legal writing and advocacy have become increasingly professionalized.  Still, Burger’s proposals might pique some interest today. He argued that our profession should “face up to and reject” the idea that every law graduate is qualified to argue before the Courts. Instead, we should evaluate lawyers’ competence and require certification of courtroom advocates. The article is titled The Special Skills of Advocacy: Are Specialized Training and Certification of Advocates Essential to Our System of Justice?


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