Systems in Legal Education, 17 Yale Law Journal 86 (1907)
Until recent years there was but one system of teaching law in the schools. It was the good old system employed in all the professions of introducing the student to text-books of recognized authority and compelling him to commit their contents to memory, under the guidance of an instructor. As shown by Professor Theodore W. Dwight, "it was the method advocated in the Roman law of introducting students to their first knowledge of that remarkable system of jurisprudence." In the earlier days, the work of the instructor was limited to ascertaining that the student had properly memorized the text and to oral explanations. The student's memorizing feat being accomplished, he was admitted to the bar. But because law, like medicine, is not an exact science and a working knowledge of law involves knowledge not only of its rules, but of how those rules are applied, only the preliminary stage of a man's legal education was finished when he passed out of the law school into the ranks of the profession. While the swearing in of a law school graduate placed upon him the imprimatur of the court in form notifying the public that he was competent to practice, it, in fact, was little more than a permission to enter upon the second stage of his education in which he would be given the opportunity to learn the application of the rules of law. Before his admission to the bar, he had been studying law only in the abstract, but afterwards he began a voluntary course of delving into the undigested mass of its original sources,--always more or less at the expense of clients, who were compelled to take the consequences of his lack of knowledge.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Wurts, John, "Systems in Legal Education" (1907). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 3954.