Are Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Obsolete in America? the View of an Outsider Looking In

By Lee, Randy | St. John's Law Review, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

Are Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Obsolete in America? the View of an Outsider Looking In


Lee, Randy, St. John's Law Review


Throughout their history, religiously affiliated law schools have justified their existence in America in a number of ways. Specifically, such schools have operated to give poor religious-- immigrant populations access to a legal education,1 encouraged the availability of legal services to the poor,2 provided forums for religious voices in debates of public policy,3 and guaranteed that religious perspectives will play a part in the formation of future lawyers.4

Since 1997, four new Catholic law schools have sought to justify themselves as well. The commitment of individuals and institutions to build law schools at Seattle University, Barry University, Ave Maria, and Saint Thomas University-- Minneapolis has ironically both endorsed the need for religiously affiliated law schools and called such schools into question. With the law school applicant pool radically diminished, bar passage rates being tightened, and existing lawyers complaining of a glut of lawyers, many have asked why we need more law schools of any kinds The answer that these are to be "Catholic law schools" leaves even some Catholics unpersuaded.6 Yet, the debate cannot be limited to these four schools. In the diversity-- conscious and accommodating America of the twenty-first century, it is not enough to ask whether we need more religiously affiliated law schools in America; today, we must address whether we need any such schools.

For the last seventeen years, I believe that I have had a calling to be a person of faith teaching in two secular law schools. As I reflect back over that time, I must ask myself how my calling differs from those who teach in non-secular schools. As I do so, the work done by religiously affiliated law schools and the traditional justifications for them, do not seem different than my own work.

Do we need religiously affiliated law schools today because only they will guarantee access to a legal education to the poor and to minorities? My current employer, Widener-Harrisburg, recruits minorities, provides them with financial aid, and offers an evening division, as did many of the original Catholic law schools,? because it recognizes that, even with financial aid, some students still must work while in law school. My former employer, the University of Pittsburgh, a state-supported school, could offer all of its in-state students a lower tuition than its religiously affiliated counterparts. Thus, the secular law schools of a diversity-conscious America now seem as committed to, and at least as capable of, guaranteeing access to a legal education to the poor and to minorities as are their religiously affiliated counterparts.

Do we need religiously affiliated law schools to encourage the availability of legal services to the poor? The law clinic of my secular law school, a clinic in which close to one-third of our students work, not only provides services exclusively to the poor, but also maintains a presence at a soup kitchen operated by an inner-city Catholic church.8 Upon graduation, a greater percentage of my students work as public defenders, as legal services attorneys, and in lower-paying government service jobs9 than do the graduates of most leading religiously affiliated law schools. Thus, it would appear that attending this secular law school would encourage lawyers to make their services available to the poor.

Do we need, then, religiously affiliated law schools to provide forums for religious voices in debates of public policy? Certainly, religiously affiliated institutions do provide the forums from which the religious voices of Frederick Gedicks,10 David Gregory,11 Marci Hamilton,12 Samuel Levine,13 Jefferson Powell,14 Charles Rice,15 and Robert Rodes16 speak. It is at secular institutions, however, where the religious voices of Teresa Collette,17 Anthony Fejfar,18 Timothy Floyd,19 Robert George,20 Mary Ann Glendon,21 and Andrew McThenia22 all speak. In fact, I was asked by the Dean at secular Widener to review Joseph Allegretti's book Faith in Lawyering: Christian Faith and Legal Practice. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Obsolete in America? the View of an Outsider Looking In
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.