Law Library News
Jan. 17, 2005.
The third Monday in January is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday. It is a day to celebrate and honor the life of a remarkable leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his struggle to bring about social change through nonviolent direct action. To commemorate Dr. King and the values that he exemplified – courage, truth, justice, dignity, compassion, and service – we invite you to take a look at the following sources and reflect upon his legacy.
UW law students, faculty, and staff have access to legal and non-legal online resources that are licensed by the Gallagher Law Library and the UW Libraries. Most of these resources restrict access to computers that bear UW Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you want to access these resources from a home computer, you can do so in one of two ways:
For more information about remotely accessing library's online resources, see our detailed guide at http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/computing.html.
For help with computing problems, visit the Computing Services site at http://www.law.washington.edu/Computing/. It includes, among others, FAQs and wireless configuration instructions.
What do law students do? How many work during the school year, how many participate in clinics, and how many do volunteer work? What do they think of legal education? OK, you know about yourself and your friends, but what about your cohort around the country?
See Student Engagement in Law Schools: A First Look, http://www.indiana.edu/~nsse/lssse/2004_annual_report/pdf/LSSSE%202004%20Annual%20Survey%20Results.pdf, which reports on a spring 2004 survey of students at 42 law schools.13,000 students responded (53% of those surveyed, more or less at different schools). The survey covered, among other things:
The Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research – with the support of the Association of American Law Schools and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching – conducted this Law School Study of Student Engagement and plans to do it annually.
A website with more detailed data than the 20-page report above is at http://www.indiana.edu/~nsse/lssse/2004_annual_report/html/.
Law School: Legal Education in America from the 1850s to the 1980s, by Robert Stevens
Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System: A Critical Edition, by Duncan Kennedy
Does the recent release of the first annual Law School Survey of Student Engagement survey make you wonder how law schools have evolved and, as a result, affected the legal profession? Here are two books that will shed light on the law school experience that you’re having today and influence how you think about the legal profession.
Law School: Legal Education in America from the 1850s to the 1980s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) (KF272.S8 1983 at Classified Stacks) is written by Robert Stevens, a one-time Yale law professor, president of Haverford College, and chancellor at U.C. Santa Cruz. This is the best book on the history of American legal education, and is one of fifty most-cited law books between 1978 and 1999 (for a complete list of most-cited law books, see http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/mostcited.html).
In Jacksonian America, lawyers were a governing elite, but there was more than one path to the law. Some clerked in prestigious New York law firms. Others taught themselves through practical experience and reading of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. A few attended Yale, Harvard, and Litchfield. Scarcity of law schools before the Civil War meant that there was more than one way to becoming a lawyer.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the options begin to narrow as bar members saw law schools as a way to raise the professional status of the bar and, at the same time, keep out immigrants and their children from entering the profession. Harvard set a trend by conceiving the case method, employing academics as law professors, and requiring students to obtain an undergraduate education first.
The twentieth century saw a time of tension between elitism and egalitarianism in legal education. Efforts to abolish night law schools, and hence keep out immigrants and the poor from the legal profession, failed. Efforts to raise the entry barrier by requiring seven years of post-secondary education succeeded. Curricular conformity was imposed on the law schools.
In the end, prevention of law schools from becoming trade schools, decline of apprenticeship, conformity and standardization of curricula, appeal of clinical programs, and opening of the profession to minorities and women are all explained in this comprehensive chronicle.
Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System: A Critical Edition (New York: New York University Press, 2004) (KF387.K45 2004 at Classified Stacks) was first self-published in 1983 by Harvard law professor Duncan Kennedy, one of the leading scholars of the Critical Legal Studies movement (for a brief explanation of CLS, see http://lii.law.cornell.edu/topics/critical_theory.html).
The book is a biting critique of the modern law school system which the author argues reinforces class, race, and gender inequality in our society. It “offers an analysis of how legal education participates in the production of what sucks about the system” (p. 1) by ideologically training the students for "willing service in the hierarchies of the corporate welfare state" (p. 15). The author's primary audience is law students, particularly first-year students. “Because most students believe what they are told, explicitly and implicitly, about the world they are entering, they behave in ways that fulfill the prophecies the system makes about them and about that world.” (p. 16). And here is what he says about law faculty, a group that he is a member of:
You may sense that they have dropped out of the world you're entering and that they are delighted not to have to do what you will have to do. Along with, or instead, of their bar admission certificates, they have family pictures and their children's paintings on their office walls, announcing things they care deeply about (one doubts they have students' pictures on the walls at home), things they are spending a lot more time on than you will be able to for many associate years to come. They are helping you adjust to that reality rather than resist it. (p. 6).
The author offers the solution of resistance - resistance inside law school, against law school: standing up to authoritarianism in the classroom, advocating for less corporate curriculum, and demanding a legal services clinic.
You may agree or disagree with the author's viewpoint, but this book is worth the read, especially the short introduction, so you can decide for yourself whether his arguments are still valid today as when the book was first published. Furthermore, this is a well-known critique that was reviewed in several major law journals when first published, unprecedented for a self-published work.
The 2004 reprint by NYU Press includes an introduction and afterward by the author, and commentaries by five other legal scholars. Both the 2004 and 1983 editions are available at KF387.K45 in Classified Stacks.