30 Hamline L. Rev. 555 (2007)
Lost Opportunity: Legal Education and the Development of Professional Identity

handle is hein.journals/hamlrv30 and id is 561 raw text is: LOST OPPORTUNITY: LEGAL EDUCATION AND THE
Daisy Hurst Floyd'
In his 1906 speech, The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the
Administration of Justice, Dean Roscoe Pound identified a number of causes
for unhappiness with the American judicial system.2 He did not, however,
mention legal education as one of those. In fact, Pound criticized progress in
judicial administration as falling behind advances in legal education, which
he praised by saying that law schools ... are rivaling the achievements of
Bologna and of Bourges to promote scientific study of the law ....
As we reflect on Pound's words a century later, we must examine
legal education as one of the possible causes of current popular
dissatisfaction with the administration of justice. Legal education is the most
common link among those responsible for designing and operating our
modem judicial system; almost all lawyers and judges became licensed to
practice law after a formal legal education. What they learned in law school
about the role of lawyers in administering justice shapes the judicial system
and contributes greatly to popular dissatisfaction with the legal system.
Lawyers' educational experiences are more similar than they are
different. Although there are almost two hundred ABA approved law
schools today, one lawyer's legal education looks very much like any other
lawyer's education. Most law schools include a first year in which the same
basic legal courses are taught, followed by specialized courses in the second
and third year. Exposure to skills training, whether through simulation or
clinical and extemship courses, occurs after the first year.4 The primary
teaching method in the first year is the Socratic Method, which engages the
student and professor in an often adversarial exchange. The primary text in
the first year is the casebook, in which students read excerpts of judicial
opinions, from which they develop a synthesis of general principles of
common law.
Traditionally, those responsible for legal education have thought
about law school from the perspective of what students need to know when
they graduate.  In the last twenty to thirty years, the perspective has
I  Dean and Professor of Law, Mercer University Walter F. George School of
2  Roscoe Pound, Dean, Harvard Law Sch., The Causes of Popular
Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice (Aug. 1906), in 35 F.R.D. 273, 275 (1964).
3  Id. at 291.
4  The exception is research and writing training which usually begins during the
first year.

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