Foundations of Modern Jurisprudence

Foundations of Modern Jurisprudence

Foundations of Modern Jurisprudence

Foundations of Modern Jurisprudence

Excerpt

Undergraduate instruction in jurisprudence throughout American colleges and universities has long been unsatisfactory. For the most part courses have been in elementary law or in the philosophy of law. Neither have been of great value to the prospective candidate for the bar. The elements of English common law are best reserved for the law school, where the student must go far beyond the confines of a general survey. American law schools are today providing the most precise and scientific training to be found anywhere at the graduate level. There are no short cuts to the mastery of legal knowledge.

The philosophy of law is interesting, although much is lost when it is detached from general philosophy. However, the student of law who proceeds through the course of study in a modern law school will develop his own philosophy of law. His legal education may be handicapped if he approaches his subject with the philosophic notions of other men too firmly fixed in his mind. The study of the philosophy of law is for the prospective lawyer best left to the last year in the law school.

The service which the study of jurisprudence can best render the undergraduate is to acquaint him with the nature and development of early legal institutions. The rich heritage of the past in legal and political thinking can be of tremendous value in obtaining an understanding of present day law and procedures. Legal thinking comprises remarkably few ideas, which recur in infinite combinations. History provides a method whereby the treasury of past thinking can be observed in correct perspective. Whether the student in college contemplates entering the legal profession or not, his education will be greatly advanced if he knows how men came into possession of their legal institutions.

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