QUALITY CONTROL IN LEGAL EDUCATION
Loyola University (New Orleans) (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:American law practice, like the American business it services, has become more demanding and rigorous in recent years. At the same time, the educational institutions that train lawyers for American law firms — namely, ABA-approved law schools — have become less demanding and rigorous. The result, not surprisingly, is that American law schools are doing a poor job of preparing students for the demands of modern law practice — but surprisingly, American law schools largely seem not to care about this mismatch between what they supply and what their consumers need (and should) demand. My Paper will examine several causes of this mismatch, including the economic reality behind the way American students perceive legal education, a reality skewed both by a tuition schema heavily dependent on subsidized loans and by a system of faculty promotion and compensation almost entirely dependent on student evaluations.
My paper will argue that the requisite reform for this lack of educational desire and achievement in the typical American law school is a return to the classic (and classical) tradition of analytical training through Socratic disputation. The Paper will first describe this tradition of training in logic and rhetoric and then will explain the only conceivable approach for its revivification, namely, the development and inculcation of faculty élan based not on a debased market model of education but instead on a new “guild vision” of legal education, whereby it is expected that teachers will train, and will be rewarded for training, their students to live and practice according to the fundamental skill of the legal profession — the ability “to think like a lawyer” and thereby provide both for the good of their clients and the common good under a system of ordered liberty and reason.