No matter how much one might have hoped that attending Marquette Law School might prepare one for a glorious career as a lawyer, prepare to have your hopes dashed. After noting that there is an “issue” with the pedagogical sensibilities of a certain faculty member, things went from bad to worse.
In a subsequent comment on the offending post at the Marquette Faculty Blog, we learn that the expectations of lawyers (note, not law students, not lawprofs, but lawyers) that law school would prepare a student for the practice of law was, well, foolish:
However, I strongly agree with Chris King’s sense of the proper relationship between legal education and the practice of law. We don’t want law school to be lawyer-training school. When we cave in to demands of that sort from the ABA and assorted study commissions, we actually invite alienation among law students and lawyers. Legal education should appreciate the depth of the legal discourse and explore its rich complexities. It should operate on a graduate-school level and graduate people truly learned in the law.
I would like to challenge this directly, but such vagaries as “the depth of legal discourse” and “its rich complexities” mean so little as to be beyond reproach. To a fault. So while I have no clue exactly what it is that this professor believes should be taught, one thing is clear, it isn’t how to practice law.
Imagine, the dirtiness of a law school teaching law students how to practice law. Disgusting. Revolting. How beneath the dignity of such a distinguished scholar. Instead, they should be taught . . . what?
The comment to which the quoted comment so strenuously agrees proposes that law school not be bothered training lawyers either.
I think its important to remember, like Professor Papke notes, that law school is an academic experience, if we want law school to be more of an apprenticeship then that is an entirely different discussion than perceived shortcomings of law school.
So where exactly do budding lawyers go to learn how to be full-fledged lawyers? Certainly not Marquette Law School. They don’t want any dirty, grubby lawyers coming out of there. Apparently, they are much happier producing graduates incapable of practicing law, but very popular at cocktail parties discussing the depth of it and its complexities.
And yet they still crank out law students who are expected to take the bar and hold in their scholarly little hands real people’s lives.
Of course, this could merely be the rambling of one faculty member, with the obsequious support of some of his more junior colleagues awaiting tenure and one law student who serves as his expert on public defenders due to a 6 month internship. But then, where are the lawprofs who actually have a clue what they are doing teaching law school? If I’m wrong, it would certainly be nice to have someone straighten me out.
PS: For the Texas view, see Mark Bennett’s post :
In fact, I propose a new motto for Marquette: If you want to practice law, go somewhere else.