In NH visit, Scalia critiques legal education
Among the problems Scalia pointed to were a growth of non-legal subjects in law school curriculums, the virtual disappearance of the prescribed curriculum and the increasing irrelevance of legal scholarship.
He traced the history of legal education, and the seeds of virtue and of some future vice to the case law method introduced by Christopher Columbus Langdell to the Harvard Law School in 1870.
"In the 140 or so years that have passed since Langdell came onto the scene, the practical virtue of American law schools as a device for the teaching of law has failed," Scalia said.
Part of this is because modern law schools see themselves as a place to get more than a legal education, he said.
"Today among a mixture of other subjects . an examination of the prospectus of any American law school will reveal a number of 'law and' courses - law and literature, law and feminism, law and poverty, law and economics, etc, etc.," Scalia said.
He said some classes have no law in them at all.
He said the problem is compounded by the ready availability of electives of varying quality and difficulty.
He said there needs to be more professors teaching basic law classes, but he does not expect to see that happen in the near future. He said in many law schools, basic classes are understaffed, as professors focus on teaching the more highly specialized topics they tend to be researching.
Another "discouraging" development in law schools has been the increasingly hard to understand, esoteric nature of much of the scholarship produced by law faculties, of no value to practitioner, Scalia said.
"In earlier years, many practitioners subscribed to the most prominent law reviews . as a means of keeping abreast of development of the law. Those years are long gone," Scalia said.
He said the academic mindset removed from practice is illustrated in the make-up of many law school faculties.
He said professors are more often valued for the quality and quantity of work they publish than the quality of their teaching, and this needs to change.
"The influence law professors have through their teaching . will far exceed whatever impact they are likely to have . through publication," Scalia said.
Scalia concluded by saying he hoped that most of what he said has no application to the UNH Law School.
Jordan Budd, associate dean for academic affairs at UNH School of Law said he is happy to say it does not.
"It was music to my ears because it is a critique we fully embrace and that our law school is at the forefront of advancing," Budd said.
He said the faculty has substantial practice experience, many in sophisticated, challenging legal settings, and produce what they refer to as "consequential" scholarship focused on relevant issues of law.
Courses focus on basic law including Constitutional law, tort law and professional responsibility.
"His critique of legal education is kind of the theme of UNH School of Law," Budd said.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- U.S. helicopters return to combat missions in Iraq - 0
- Video: British hostage beheaded by ISIS - 14
- To remember the POW and MIA: Recognition Day ceremony in Boscawen - 0
- Goffstown High grad finishes Air Force training - 0
- JFK picture on side of Dallas tour bus draws ire, threats - 0
- Yellowstone tourist fined for crashed drone - 0
- FBI chief claims killer of Foley and Sotloff is identified - 0
- FBI says militant in beheading videos ID'd; about a dozen from U.S. have fought with militants in Syria - 0
- U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes on Islamic State in Syria - 16
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Rymes Oil employees pull Bradford man from flaming wreck but driver succumbs to injuries - 0
- Franklin man and woman arraigned for attempted prostitution of minor - 0
- Rymes is ready to roll following Fred Fuller purchase - 0
- Police investigating death of 3-year-old girl in Nashua - 7
- Police say hit-and-run driver was observed tossing beer cans from car - 1
- City championship on the line Thanksgiving Day - 1
- Your Turn, NH -- Mike Moffett: Republicans can win in 2016 with Kasich at the top of the ticket - 7
- On being American: A point for reflection - 2
- Charles Arlinghaus: 'Tis the season for budget games and gimmicks - 0
Manchester school exec contract squeaks by
Pipes and plans: A chance to show up Mass.
Your Turn, NH -- Mike Moffett: Republicans can win in 2016 with Kasich at the top of the ticket
On being American: A point for reflection