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Monday, November 21, 2011

Legal Education at a Crossroads

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian
New York Times, "What They Don't Teach Law Students: Lawyering, is informative when the reader studies the whole content. However, its main thesis, that somehow law students are ill-served by the case (Socratic) method of legal study, is a subject for debate. It seems to assume that the only purpose for a legal education is a lucrative career. But a legal education has more riches to offer than monetary gain. A law degree is a platform for an extremely informed way of looking at current and historical events. All relationships, whether between persons, a person and the environment, a person and their government, business entities, or animals, to name a few, have a legal component. A legal education provides the ability to sense more than one level of these relationships just as musical talent or education provides the ability to hear more than one harmonic voice in a chorus.

There is a degree of panic relative to legal education because the economy has made it much harder to find a lucrative job after law school. High tuition costs have heightened the difficulty law graduates face after completing a degree. All criticism of legal education should trend towards balancing the need for practical training and the love of the law that a Juris Doctor provides.