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1979 Newsl. 1 (1979)

handle is hein.aals/aalsnews1979 and id is 1 raw text is: 



President's Message

                  This is my first letter to you as President of the Association of American Law Schools.
             Not many of you heard my presidential address, since it was delivered at 5:00 P.M. on the last
             day of the 1979 meeting and most of you had wisely decided to flee Chicago while that remained
             a viable option. (The address will be distributed later to the law schools but I suspect it
             will gather dust in some decanal file') I attempted to outline an agenda for the coming decade,
             stressing four areas relating to quality legal education that are within the ambit of AALS re-
             sponsibility. They are: admissions (the quality of the students), educational directions (the
             quality of the program), availability of financial resources (which affects the quality of all
             we do), and accreditation (the standards by which we measure, and attempt to achieve, quality).
             During the course of 1979, I and your'Executive Committee will be addressing all of these crit-
             ical areas. My periodic essays in the Newsletter will be devoted to various aspects of these

                  I turn first to educational directions because it lies at the heart of our programs and be-
             cause Judge Carl McGowan delivered a brilliant luncheon address at the annual meeting which ob-
             viously touched a deep chord in the academic psyche. The essence of Judge McGowan's thesis was
             succinctly stated: Periodically thoughout the history of legal education in this country, the
             University spirit is affected, not to say imperilled, by an upsurge of demands for a greater
             measure of what is viriously termed more 'useful' or more 'practical' instruction. We appear
             to be in such a cycle at the moment. Just so' We all know something of the upsurge of de-
             mands to which this wise statesman of the law referred.

                  I have written elsewhere that the Taw school faces in two directions: inward toward the
             university, with its interest in the intellectual life and its concern for the transmission
             and development of knowledge through research and teaching, and outward toward the law in
             action as opposed to the law in books. There are, inevitably, tensions that flow from this
             dichotomy. Both directions are important so it is the sense of delicate balance that is cru-
             cial for what will soon be the decade of the 'eighties.

                  There are numerous interest groups which could upset the delicate balance - the bar, the
             judiciary, even the students themselves. The law faculties have a special obligation, there-
             fore, to maintain the university-centered nature of the law school. We must not become obsessed
             with the so-called practical. What is practical today may be obsolete tomorrow but the funda-
             mentals of a quality legal education will endure. We are a part of the university world and
             we bear a threefold responsibility for teaching, research and writing, and public service.
             That is challenge enough for any generation of law teachers and we should resist the urge to
             become social agencies attempting to cure the ills of our respective communities.

                  I am not opposed to limited clinical programs, summer jobs in practice, some controlled
             practice experience while in law school, simulated trial and appellate advocacy, negotiation
             courses, etc., but I do believe these programs are an important side show - the main action
             is in another tent. The key to all of these programs is supervised, educational experience.
             We should not yield to internal (student) and external (bar, judicial) clamor for immediate
             gratification of an understandable thirst for involvement in the real world at the expense
             of what we know to be our principal mission.

                  I believe, with former AALS President Francis Allen, that the preservation and extension
             of an intellectually-based and humanistically-motivated legal education is the greatest chal-
             lenge facing American law schools.

                                                                        r sident

                                                                                   h hnE. Cibbe



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