You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

December 19, 2004

warming the left side

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:29 pm

fire-side poetry –
I turn to warm the left side
of my brain



winter solstice–
moving the scale
to a lighter place



credits: “winter solstice” – The Heron’s Nest

“fire-side poetry – Raw NerVZ Haiku Volume VII No. 3




by the parking space stalker

— season’s greetings!

                                      [Dec. 19, 2004]




last stamp licked–

pushing the holiday



                              rev’d Dec. 19, 2004]

one-breath pundit 

tiny check  This week, Evan’s Legal Underground has been discussing ways to improve law school education so that graduates are better prepared  to immediately practice law, and will (it is assumed) therefore have options other than law firms for their first jobs.


According to Harvard Law Today Dean Elena Kagan has “launched a curricular review to re-examine

how law is taught — for the first time since HLS Dean Christopher Langdell introduced the current

curriculum in the 1870s.”  (by Beth Potier, at 7, Dec. 2004; story not available online)  The article states:

dinos at night sm “It’s time to say, ‘Is this really what students should be taking? Are they learning the set 

of competencies that they need to master in order to go out and be great lawyers in today’s

world?   How has the world changed in the last 100 and some years? she says.  Kagan is

confident that the multiyear review will turn up an intensified focus on international and

comparative law, something relevant to all practicing lawyers today.


Just as Langdell’s 19th-century curriculum became the model for most modern law study in

America, so will the eyes of the nation’s legal scholars be on Harvard as it again rethinks

how it trains lawyers.


“If we do our jobs well in this area, we’ll be creating a law school curriculum not just for

Harvard but for legal education in general,” Kagan says.  “It’s the great fun of this job,

but it’s also the great responsibility of it.”

Beyond the insitutional hubris in her remarks, it seems that Dean Kagan is talking about finding new subject

areas rather than finding ways to make law school a practical source of training (Note: there are good

arguments that legal education, especially at elite schools, should be about honing legal reasoning and

communicating skills, and general principles, rather than the nuts-and-bolts of everday practice.)    I’m

skeptical that a curricular review dominated by law school administrators and professors will come up

with proposals that might significantly reduce the demand for law schools and law professors.   Any

impetus for reducing the number of classroom semesters and switching to a series of apprentice-like clerking

and clinic options will probably have to come from the Bar itself. 

    • I wanted to suggest that thoughtful ideas for improving the training of new lawyers be directed to

      Dean Kagan’s office or the appropriate committee or project head.  However, the online HLS Directory

      lists, but gives no contact information for the Dean’s Office, merely linking back to the same Dean’s

      Welcome page that sends you to the Directory for Contact Information.  I could find no other HLS

      entity online related to the curriculum review.   When/if I get contact information, I shall let you know.


tiny check VC’s Orin Kerr spotlights the ACLU donor privacy scandal.  As the New York Times reported on Dec. 18:  sleuthSm 

“The American Civil Liberties Union is using sophisticated technology to collect a wide

variety of information about its members and donors in a fund-raising effort that has

ignited a bitter debate over its leaders’ commitment to privacy rights.”

The lawyers and management at ACLU — like lawyers and management in most law firms — apparently throw

away core values and duties, when the task is acquiring money.  Cf. Fees & the Lawyer-Fiduciary


red check smaller   When it comes to protecting our freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, thank goodness for British and American courts.  See today’s NYT editorialA Message, from Britain to Washington.  Are you listening, Mr. President?                                                                                                                                                                  

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress