the Irish for rights

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

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.

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6 Responses to “What Carnegie might still teach us?”

  1. Eoin says:

    For another, more instrumetal, view of what Law Schools teach, see Elizabeth Mertz The Language of Law School. Learning to ‘Think Like a Lawyer’ (OUP, 2007). From the blurb:

    Anyone who has attended law school knows that it invokes an important intellectual transformation, frequently referred to as learning to think like a lawyer. This process, which forces students to think and talk in radically new and different ways about conflicts, is directed by professors in the course of their lectures and examinations, and conducted via spoken and written language. Beth Mertz’s book is the first study to truly delve into that language to reveal the complexities of how this process takes place.

    Mertz bases her linguistic study on tape recordings from first year Contracts courses in eight different law schools. She shows how all these schools employ the Socratic method between teacher and student, forcing the student to shift away from moral and emotional terms in thinking about conflict, toward frameworks of legal authority instead. This move away from moral frameworks is key, she says, arguing that it represents an underlying worldview at the core not just of law education, but for better or worse, of the entire US legal system which, while providing a useful source of legitimacy and a means to process conflict, fails to deal systematically with aspects of fairness and social justice. The latter part of her study shows how differences in race and gender makeup among law students and professors can subtly alter this process.

  2. […] Foundation’s report on Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (which I have already discussed on this blog) comes Law in the Real World: Improving our Understanding of How Law Works […]

  3. Eoin says:

    How Cross-Disciplinary Training May Improve the Quality of Legal Education (from MediaLawProf):

    Seth Freeman has deposited Bridging the Gaps: How Cross-Disciplinary Training With MBAs Can Improve Professional Education, Prepare Students for Private Practice, and Enhance University Life in SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

    What can law schools do to address the criticisms in the Carnegie Foundation’s January 2007 report on legal education? That report found that law schools are not teaching students how to be competent lawyers. One particularly promising answer is cross-disciplinary training with MBAs, which leading law schools such as NYU, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard have embraced in recent years. In this article, I explore the value of such courses, and discuss a cross-disciplinary course that I successfully debuted in the Fall of 2006 at NYU entitled, "Negotiating Complex Transactions with Executives and Lawyers." More generally, I argue that cross-disciplinary courses offer special advantages for students, schools, universities, and employers, and deserve much more emphasis in professional training and higher education.

  4. Eoin says:

    Paul Maharg, author of the stimulating Transforming Legal Education. Learning and Teaching the Law in the Early Twenty-first Century (Ashgate, 2007) has an excellent assessment of the Carnegie Study on his superb blog, Zeugma, in a post entitled Educating Lawyers. Some extracts:

    … I think this is one of the best books on legal education to be published in a long time, and here’s why. … First, it’s educationally literate … Second, the book is frank about the shortcomings of the J.D. as well as its strengths. … Third, it’s based on field work. Just not enough of that around in legal education — the findings of the UK Nuffield Report on the dearth of empirical sociolegal research applies as much to legal education too. … [Finally], the book has a transformative agenda. … The Carnegie book takes the first courageous step — the important and public acknowledgement that legal education has to change at fundamental levels in our society. It is too elitist, too bound up in academic culture, not sufficiently engaged in social concerns. I like to think that academics like me have something useful to say on the subject (though perhaps that’s just vanity) but the key point is that legal education, as with art education or teacher education or any other type of education is too important to leave in the hands of specialists. …

    My sentiments exactly; I wish I’d said all of that (though for what I did say about the Nuffiled sociolegal study, see my post Law in the Real World).

  5. […] Foundation’s report on Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (which I have discussed on this blog). Again Douglas Berman has proposed a hierarchy of goals for law school instruction […]

  6. […] report on Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (which I have discussed here and here [papers here] on this blog) to detailed analysis and finding it wanting. Some extracts: […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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