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Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD

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This article traces the origins of the casebook classroom, the medical school teaching hospital, and the architectural school design studio. These parallel histories show how and why legal education diverged from norms being established in the other two fields. The divergence left legal education stronger within universities than it otherwise might have been. But it also left legal education insulated from its own profession and, to that extent, diminished intellectually.

Uniquely among the professions, law schools use a required curriculum has changed little since 1870. Medical and architecture schools are built around settings where those professions are practiced: teaching hospitals and design studios. The typical law school, however, is built around its library, which is essential to faculty scholarship but has only a minor role in the practice of law. Medical and architectural faculties are dominated by people close to practice, but law faculties are the reverse. And law school resources are allocated today within the context of a bargain Langdell came to in the late nineteenth century. The Langdellian bargain may be the most fundamental reason why so little has changed in legal education since then.



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