Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Ten Myths about Legal Education at University

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the University of Alberta Faculty of Law's future of legal education conference in celebration of the faculty's 100th anniversary.  I have read a few blog posts about it at the faculty's blog, and I'm struck by the ambivalence I feel about the conversations.

As well-intentioned as they seem, there seems to be a lot of collective delusion going on in these conversations.

So here's a list of accepted truths about legal education in universities that I think are false.

  1. Only lawyers need an education in law.
  2. Lawyers only need an education in law.
  3. A structure designed 1000 years ago or more is still the best way to educate people on the law.
  4. It makes sense to front-load theoretical learning and back-load practical learning.
  5. It is the exclusive responsibility of the employer to do practical training.
  6. It is the exclusive responsibility of the university to provide theoretical learning.
  7. Universities teach students to think like lawyers, rather than just teaching them to speak like lawyers.
  8. Lawyers think in a distinct way.
  9. Research and teaching are positively correlated skill sets.
  10. Research or teaching is positively correlated with skill in administration of a post secondary faculty.

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