91 Mich. L. Rev. 34 (1992-1993)
The Growing Disjunction between Legal Education and the Legal Profession

handle is hein.journals/mlr91 and id is 58 raw text is: THE GROWING DISJUNCTION BETWEEN
LEGAL EDUCATION AND THE LEGAL
PROFESSION
Hany T. Edwards*
INTRODUCTION
In the last analysis, the law is what the lawyers are. And the law and the
lawyers are what the law schools make them.
- Felix Frankfurter'
For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about the grow-
ing disjunction between legal education and the legal profession. I fear
that our law schools and law firms are moving in opposite directions.
The schools should be training ethical practitioners and producing
scholarship that judges, legislators, and practitioners can use. The
firms should be ensuring that associates and partners practice law in
an ethical manner. But many law schools - especially the so-called
elite ones - have abandoned their proper place, by emphasizing
abstract theory at the expense of practical scholarship and pedagogy.
Many law firms have also abandoned their place, by pursuing profit
above all else. While the schools are moving toward pure theory, the
firms are moving toward pure commerce, and the middle ground -
ethical practice - has been deserted by both. This disjunction calls
into question our status as an honorable profession.2
Over the past two decades, law and economics, law and literature,
law and sociology, and various other law and movements have come
to the fore in legal education. We also have seen a growth in critical
* Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. B.S.
1962, Cornell; J.D. 1965, University of Michigan. Judge Edwards practiced law with Seyfarth,
Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson in Chicago, Illinois, between 1965 and 1970; he then served as a
tenured professor of law at Michigan Law School (1970-75, 1977-80) and Harvard Law School
(1975-77). Since joining the D.C. Circuit in 1980, he has continued to teach part-time at various
law schools, including Pennsylvania, Harvard, Duke, Georgetown, Michigan and, most recently,
New York University. - Ed.
The author wishes to acknowledge and express his appreciation for the research assistance of
Matthew D. Adler, J.D. 1991, Yale University, in the preparation of this article.
1. Letter from Felix Frankfurter, Professor, Harvard Law School, to Mr. Rosenwald 3 (May
13, 1927) (Felix Frankfurter papers, Harvard Law School library), quoted in RAND JACK &
DANA C. JACK, MORAL VISION AND PROFESSIONAL DECISIONS: THE CHANGING VALUES OF
WOMEN AND MEN LAWYERS 156 (1989).
2. For a similar view of the disjunction between legal education and the legal profession, see
Alex M. Johnson, Jr., Think Like a Lawyer, Work Like a Machine The Dissonance Between
Law School and Law Practice, 64 S. CAL. L. REv. 1231 (1991).

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