The general points I make link to the justice mission of law schools. We must produce people prepared to practice at the very highest levels; and we must produce the kind of detached thinking that one associates with a great research institution. Most of us were educated in the system created by Langdell: the casebook method. It is startling that Langdell's method enjoys the pervasive dominance of legal education that it does. The notion of a static corpus juris which provided the foundation upon which Langdell built his model is impossible to maintain. Another general observation, the demographics of our students are changing. Our law students also learn very quickly that the cases they study are not about real people while the practice of law is about real people. Thus their learning is disconnected from the reality of what most lawyers do most of the time. In response to this shortcoming we have begun to develop other modes of education. One final general observation: Even the way we use the casebook method must change. Specifically, to the extent we rely on the casebook method, we should insist that students go deeply into general subject areas over their three years of study. The justice mission demands that students be exposed to what lawyers do in the lives of people on the one hand and to the need for reference to normative disciplines on the other. And the justice mission requires that they be steeped deeply in the law.
Law Schools, the Justice Mission, and Bob McKay,
40 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol40/iss3/7