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What is a law school? That is a question that ought to have a fairly straightforward answer: a law school is a professional school for the education and training of lawyers. If we know what lawyers do—or ought to do—we should be able to design a curriculum that will prepare law students to carry out that professional role in a competent, ethical, socially responsible manner.
Why, then, is there such widespread dissatisfaction with the state of legal education? Law students believe that today's law schools do not prepare them to be lawyers, and program them to aspire, or resign themselves, to narrow and materialistic career opportunities. Law school faculties cannot agree on what should be taught in law schools, how it should be taught, or who is qualified to teach it. Faculty appointments and promotions are based upon the production of legal scholarship that often has only a tangential relationship to the work of lawyers and the problems of clients. The public views lawyers—law school graduates—as a necessary evil, at best, and more often as greedy, sleazy technicians who prosper from the problems and misfortunes of others.
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