Martha Minow, Marking 200 Years of Legal Education: Traditions of Change, Reasoned Debate, and Finding Differences and Commonalities, 130 Harv. L. Rev. 2279 (2017).
Abstract: What is the significance of legal education? “Plato tells us that, of all kinds of knowledge, the knowledge of good laws may do most for the learner. A deep study of the science of law, he adds, may do more than all other writing to give soundness to our judgment and stability to the state.” So explained Dean Roscoe Pound of Harvard Law School in 1923, and his words resonate nearly a century later. But missing are three other possibilities regarding the value of legal education: To assess, critique, and improve laws and legal institutions; To train those who pursue careers based on legal training, which may mean work as lawyers and judges; leaders of businesses, civic institutions, and political bodies; legal academics; or entrepreneurs, writers, and social critics; and To advance the practice in and study of reasoned arguments used to express and resolve disputes, to identify commonalities and differences, to build institutions of governance within and between communities, and to model alternatives to violence in the inevitable differences that people, groups, and nations see and feel with one another. The bicentennial of Harvard Law School prompts this brief exploration of the past, present, and future of legal education and scholarship, with what I hope readers will not begrudge is a special focus on one particular law school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.