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New York University Law Review

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A recurring theme at the SALT conference was the view that students come to law school full of fervor to further social justice and law reform, and leave with no other interest than to practice in prestigious law firms and become rich. The law school experience is thus viewed as one that is destructive of idealism and that produces a profession of legal technicians devoid of a sense of social responsibility.

Although I agree that the legal profession as a whole has failed in its responsibilities to society, I do not agree that the cause of that failure is to be found in legal education. Certainly law school did not have that effect on those of us who attended the conference to voice our dismay over the state of our profession. Somehow we survived the law school experience with social consciences intact; indeed, with the benefit of our rigorous training in lawyering skills, we are now able to deal more effectively with what we believe to be injustices in society. Those of us at the conference, however, were only a small portion of those in legal education, and a much smaller fraction of the legal profession as a whole. What happened, then, to all those others who entered law school with the sole goal in mind of righting social wrongs?