sphere'.46 There is no mention that these secretaries are women. There is no discussion of the powerlessness of these administrators or the appalling pay of these acting Deans. They are presumably friendly because they are women. It is as women that they keep out of politics, it is as women that they have a relationship with students, with the most numerous and oppressed subjects of the institution, and recognise alumnae, it is as women that they pin up postcards, and it is presumably also as women that they stay. Why is it assumed that this is unproblematic or that it tells us so very little about law school and what it is properly about?47

What is significant is the apparent insignificance of the relationship of the academic lawyer to exploitation and to the exploited. What is at issue is the question of relationship itself and of the forms of relationship which law, and here the legal academy, institutes or inscribes. The important point is not simply that Twining observes what he has been trained to observe, that he repeats his own history in writing the history of the law school. Twining's tower aptly depicts what pass for relationships within the law school and in consequence it tells us a very considerable amount about the ways of knowing that make up the epistemology of law, and about the embodiments or practices of knowledge and of teaching which constitute the experience or education and training of the legal academy. The academic, pedagogic and interpersonal relationships within the law school directly reflect the scholarship of the law teacher and are directly expressed in their teaching practice. A history of the law school would do well to supplement the information it provides with a more direct account of, and reflection upon, those relationships and the knowledge or forms of life which they imply.


The metaphor of the tower accurately captures the bellicose resonances of distance, impersonality and non-communication that both symbolise and express the antagonistic practice of law. The history of modern legal education, the two centuries or so of Blackstone's Tower, is consequently a rather desolate, desultory and disengaged retrospective. There is no social history or context, no political account of either educational or professional practice, no perception of the potential diversity or future possibilities of postmodern law. The law school tower, in other words, has served both to keep the world at bay and to discipline and on occasion terrorise the students who would be lawyers. The tower bespeaks isolation and insularity and such is certainly a feature of the process of legal education. What is unfortunate is not, however, the scholarly seclusion of the legal academy but rather its substantive isolation from scholarship and scholarly community. To argue for or otherwise encourage the readmission or reabsorption of law into the ii disciplines is a complicated and multiple proposal which requires that critical attention be focused both on law and on the disciplines and practices with which it will be joined. To argue, as Twining does, that scholarship is an autonomous good, and to legislate, in a characteristically distanced, legal or patrician form upon the need for scholarship, misses the critical substance, the politics, of such an argument. To have critical value, the project of re-engaging the law school with its scholarly context requires that we consider seriously the forms, implications and diverse political consequences of such an interdisciplinary reception. There is, in short, an immediate and radical politics to the conjunction of law and other disciplines and if taken seriously or on equal footing, feminism, race theory, textualism or political lawyering all have transgressive implications for the teaching of law as also for relationships within the academy and latterly in practice.

As to the teaching relation and the institutional development of the law school, the absence of any history or even mention of class, gender, race or oppression reflects an altogether more immediate isolation and arrogance on the part of the academy and its historians. The metaphor of distance and the magisterial tone of a 'view from above' both in their way express the culture and non-relation of law school. Even in its liberal variant, the history of the English law school is an exercise in a profoundly disciplinary or normalising control in which the ideal of professional persona is 'the great man', the ideal of relation is one of estrangement, the model of legal system is exclusively that of English common law,

Ibid at 73. Having been involved in establishing a new law school, in the University of London, I am particularly aware of the academic's reliance upon administrators and secretaries. Valerie Hoare, who was appointed at the same time as I was, knew the University of London system much better than I did, and during the first years of the Department was clearly as responsible as any of the academics for the tone of the Department and the structure of its administration. Further, in many respects she played the role of the unconscious of the Department in precisely the senses that Twining enumerates, building interpersonal spaces between staff and accomodating or understanding the needs both of the students and of the College.
To his great credit this is a question raised by Duncan Kennedy , Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy ( 1983).


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