03 February 2016

Trolling the Platitudes of Legal Education

Legal education today is under attack from a multitude of quarters. (See my posts here and here for a couple of examples.) Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
While reading Jim Gordley's most recent work, "The Jurists: A Critical History" (Oxford 2013) I couldn't help chuckle when I read several quotes from an article published in the Yale Law Journal in 1943.

According to authors Harold D. Lasswell and Myers S. McDougal in Legal Education and Public Policy: Professional Training in the Public Interest, the goal of legal education should be to train lawyer-policymakers who would work to implement "democratic" values. To what end, you ask?
A legitimate aid of education is to seek to promote the values of a democratic society and to reduce the number of moral mavericks who do not share democratic preferences.
Why these democratic-totalitarian ends?
The laborious work of modern science had provided a non-sentimental foundation for the intuitive confidence with which the poets and prophets of modern brotherhood have regarded mankind. Buttressing the aspirations of these sensitive spirits stands the modern arsenal of facts about the benevolent potentialities of human nature [sic] and a secure knowledge of the methods by which disturbed personality growth can be prevented or cured.
I guess you can count me among the "moral mavericks" but even so one can only wonder what folks 70 years hence will say about silliness of much of what is published in the Journal of Legal Education or what frivolous changes in course syllabuses must soon be implemented at the behest of the American Bar Association acting as an agent of the educrats at the U.S. Department of Education.

No comments:

Post a Comment