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Some Thoughts on Legislation in Legal Education, 35 Mercer Law Review 845 (1984)


I am in strong agreement with Professor Williams about the need for more emphasis on legislation and the legislative process in the education of law school students. He is, of course, quite right in stressing that legislation is the primary source of law in this country and that those preparing to become lawyers should not only master the techniques and doctrines of statutory interpretation, but should have a thorough understanding of legislative institutions and legislative lawmaking as well. Practicing lawyers must work extensively with statutes in ascertaining and applying existing law. Even more than case law, statutes are essential legal sources in the work of lawyers. In their practices, lawyers may also find highly useful the ability to draft proposed legislation, to predict with some reliability future legislative action, and to convince legislators of the merits of certain pending bills. It would seem obvious that the schools that train lawyers would focus heavily on legislatures and legislation in order to provide students with the requisite skill and understanding to deal most effectively with this crucial aspect of law. Instead, however, the law schools overemphasize the judicial process and appellate court case law at the expense of legislative procedures and statutes.

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