4. A 'House of Intellect' for the Profession

NIGEL SAVAGE AND GARY WATT

A 'House of Intellect' for the Profession

WHAT are law schools for?--Any honest and accurate response to this question ought to leave the reader with a sublime sense of dissatisfaction, a pleasing paradox. If we suggest a tidy conclusion which will work in every place then we have provided a false solution. Indeed, legal education has been described as 'schizophrenic', and incurably so.1 The dilemmas multiply--legal science versus legal realism;2 liberal education against vocational education;3 education versus training;4 substance versus procedure; technical rationality versus reflective practice;5 education for the elite versus education for the majority; and then there is perhaps the most basic dilemma of all- the pragmatic versus the idyllic. Our fundamental struggle is always likely to be the problem of achieving a Utopian vision of what law schools should be within the confines of our resources and the institutional context in which each law school begins its journey towards Utopia. As Karl Llewellyn acknowledged, 'This is a pragmatic world. Most major premises still are dictated by a conclusion needed and already fixed'.6

As lawyers and problem solvers we find this plethora of contrapositions, and their apparent insolubility, unsatisfactory, but we must resist our natural temptation to insist upon a grand resolution. In this chapter we will suggest, not a solution, but a constructive approach to continued discourse; if not a map of Utopia, at least some guidance on the best route towards it.

And if we reach our journey's end, what might we expect to find there? In this regard, we gratefully approve and adopt the vision outlined by Professor William Twining in his recent Hamlyn lectures on the English law school:

'At the time of the Ormrod Report7 there were three main variants of the professional school model . . . most prestigious, is an institution which purports to be the practising profession's House of Intellect, providing not only basic education and training, but also specialist training, continuing education, basic and applied research and high level consultancy and information service. The nearest analogy is the medical school attached to a teaching hospital which, inter alia, gives a high priority to clinical experience with live patients as part of an integrated process of professional formation and development. In no western country has this model been realised in law'8 (italics added).

Professor Twining sees the House of Intellect as a model for educating and training the 'practising profession'. It does not follow, however, that it was his intention (and it is certainly not our intention here) to buttress the professional school/ undergraduate school dichotomy. There exist numerous practical reasons for distinguishing undergraduate and post- graduate studies, but we should not attach too much weight to those distinctions in our search for a coherent theory of legal education. The Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct appears to agree, and in a recent consultation paper their Chairman emphasised that the initial and vocational stages of legal education are joined by 'common threads'.9 This conciliatory approach is greatly to be welcomed. The 'House of Intellect' has many rooms, and there is surely space enough within it for a scholarly undergraduate law degree. We shall perhaps confirm this view when we have explored it, room by room.


Room One: Basic Education and Training

A Learned Profession

If the law school is to become the House of Intellect for the profession it is fundamentally important that we develop a mature conception of what constitutes 'the profession'. For one thing, need profession necessarily be synonymous with the 'practice' of law by

____________________
1
Professor J. Huffman, 'Legal Science is Alive and Well in American Law Schools', page 53 at 64, in 'Legal Education: 2000' Grant, Jagtenberg and Nijkerk eds., 1988, Avebury.
2
A dichotomy criticised by Huffman op.cit.
3
A dichotomy criticised by S. Bright, 'The Law Teacher' ( 1991) Vol.25 No.1 page 11 at 19.
4
Dawn Oliver: 'Teaching and Learning Law: Pressures on the Liberal Law Degree', Chapter 8, 'Reviewing Legal Education' O.U.P. 1994.
5
Donald Schön, 'Educating the Reflective Practitioner' 1987, Jossey-Bass Inc. publishers, p.308/309.
6
'Bramble Bush--on our law and its study', Karl N. Llewellyn , 1930, Oceana Publications Inc. at page 74.
7
Report of the Committee on Legal Education. Cmnd 4594 ( 1971).
8
'Blackstone's Tower: The Engliah Law School', William Twining , The Hamlyn Lectures 1994, Sweet & Maxwell at page 52.
9
'Review of Legal Education: The Vocational Stage and Continuing Professional Development', June 1995, Chairman's Forward.

-45-

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