Legal Education Reform and the Good Lawyer


  • Alice Woolley



The critics agree: law schools do it wrong. Stuck in early twentieth century practices that emphasize instruction in legal doctrine in large lecture halls, law schools fail to provide their students with the skills necessary to be practicing lawyers and to be marketable to prospective employers. They fail to instill in their students the “professional identity” necessary to achieve ethical legal practice. This article sounds a cautionary note with respect to those proposals for reform that reject the traditional emphasis on doctrinal teaching. In particular, and in contrast to the critics who view doctrinal learning as inconsistent with, or unrelated to, the creation of ethical lawyers, this article suggests that the emphasis on law in law school serves an essential function in creating ethical legal practice.