What Carnegie might still teach us?

Carnegie Foundation on Education LawyersI like the Carnegie Foundation, not least for its founder‘s support of Irish and Scottish libraries, one of which was my local library when I was growing up (and it features in the lovingly written and beautifully produced Brendan Grimes Irish Carnegie Libraries. A Catalogue and Architectural History (Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1998), though its court wing is no longer up to the mark). However, there is much more to the Carnegie Foundation than that. As the homepage of its website puts it:

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of the teacher and the cause of higher education.

One of its classic publications it its 1921 Bulletin Training for the Public Profession of the Law by Alfred Z. Reed. Now comes a wholly new report on Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law, the fruits of a two-year study of legal education in modern American and Canadian law schools (hat tips: Slaw and Teknoids; see Crime & Federalism | Inside HigherEd | Law School Innovation | Pope Centre | PrawfsBlawg). From the summary (pdf):

Education of professionals is a complex educational process, and its value depends in large part upon how well the several aspects of professional training are understood and woven into a whole. That is the challenge for legal education: linking the interests of legal educators with the needs of legal practitioners and with the public the profession is pledged to serve—in other words, fostering what can be called civic
professionalism.

Like other professional schools, law schools are hybrid institutions. One parent is the historic community of practitioners, for centuries deeply immersed in the common law and carrying on traditions of craft, judgment and public responsibility. The other heritage is that of the modern research university. …

Recommendation 1. Offer an Integrated Curriculum.
To build on their strengths and address their shortcomings, law schools should offer an integrated, three-part curriculum: (1) the teaching of legal doctrine and analysis, which provides the basis for professional growth; (2) introduction to the several facets of practice included under the rubric of lawyering, leading to acting with responsibility for clients; and (3) exploration and assumption of the identity, values and dispositions consonant with the fundamental purposes of the legal profession. Integrating the three parts of legal education would better prepare students for the varied demands of professional legal work. …

As Irish legal education grapples with the implications of the Competition Authority‘s Final Report on the Legal Professions, and in particular with its recommended establishment of an independent Legal Services Commission, which would – inter alia – oversee a deregulated market for legal education, there will be much to be learned from what will surely be another classic Carnegie publication.

Update (28 March 2007): A thread The Carnegie Study: impressions and responses?, discussing the report has started on has started on Law School Innovation. Here are some other comments: Cornell; Law Career Blog; Law.Com Blog Network; Law Prof on the Loose; Law School Innovation; Where Most Needed.

6 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *