« AnteriorContinuar »
been presented. An attentive perusal of it will, Lecture I think, fully support the observation I made on the floor when the subject was under discussion, to the effect that if the Association had never done anything else to justify its existence, that
Report of report alone would constitute such justification. American Since the making of that report we are informed ciation that a new scheme of lectures has been determined subject. upon by the Council of Legal Education, which would seem to indicate that the subject in England is not yet upon a perfectly satisfactory basis.?
1 On the subject of legal education and admissions to the bar three valuable reports have been made to the American Bar Association. The first was submitted in 1879 by a committee consisting of Mr. Carleton Hunt, Mr. Henry Stockbridge, and Mr. Edmund H. Bennett, and is printed in the Report of the American Bar Association for 1879, p. 208. No definite result was reached, and the subject was revived in 1890, and a report made which will be found in the Report of the Association for 1891, p. 301. The report was re-committed, and a final report made which appears in the Report of the Association for 1892, p. 317. The committee were effectively aided by the United States Bureau of Education, which has published as an official document the committee's report of 1892, with tables and data "showing what is taught, and what methods of instruction are pursued in the leading law schools of the various countries, and giving the latest statistics available." The membership of this committee during the three years of its existence has been as follows: In 1890 William G. Hammond, George M. Sharp, and Henry Wade Rogers; in 1891 the same gentlemen, with the addition of J. IIubley Ashton ; in 1892 the gentlemen last named, with the addition of Samuel Williston. The report as published by the Bureau of Education, 1893, contains much matter not found in the report as printed in the proceedings of the American Bar Association.
2 “ A new scheme of lectures is about to be started by the Council of Legal Education. Everything will depend on the working of it. On paper it is certainly better than the old one; and if it be worked with zeal and intelligence the Inns of Court may possibly within a few years be not much inferior as a centre of legal instruction to an average second-rate American law school.” Sir Frederick Pollock in Law Quar. Rev., vol. viii., 19 (1892).
Foreign jurists and teachers have always marked
and condemned as inadequate the limited scope of Criticism, legal instruction in England. Thus MM. Durand course of and Terrel in substance observe as follows:legal edu
"What distinguishes the English course of legal “education is its practical character. “ justly praise the organization of the English “bar, but cannot condemn too strongly its want “ of theoretical studies. This education makes good “ lawyers and even good judges, but cannot create
accomplished jurists who are able to advance “ the science of jurisprudence.
I must admit the general truth of the criticism, but must also insist that a system of education which makes good lawyers and good judges cannot be regarded as a failure, although defective in a more general and scientific view. Doubtless it is a system capable of improvement, and one that ought to be improved. However it may be in England, it is certainly true in this country that the subject of legal education, both as respects the scope and methods of instruction, is in an unsettled and unsatisfactory state. Wherefore I hope you will indulge me in some observations thereon, although my brief experience of three years as a law teacher in Columbia College does not enable me to
to speak with any considerable weight of 1 MM. Durand and Terrel, Preface to Professor Lioy's “ Philosophie du Droit." They say: “Ce qui caractérise l'enseignement anglais, c'est donc son caractère pratique. Si l'on peut louer justement l'organisation du barreau anglais, on ne saurait condamner trop énergiquement ce défaut d'études théoriques. Cette éducation peut faire de bons avocats et même de bons magistrats, mais elle ne saurait créer de veritables savants qui fassent avancer la science du droit." Preface, cxxvii.
authority. All will agree, I think, that there are few questions which more intimately concern the well-being, not only of the profession but of the people, and especially a free people.
The following are in my judgment the more mate. Scope and rial considerations belonging to the subject under legal eduthe general conditions which surround it in this this councountry. These conditions are in some respects peculiar, and particularly those that practically limit the course of instruction to two or three
years. 1. We must take things as they are, and shape our course accordingly. Practically, the law schools in this country are limited, or rather they are forced to limit themselves, to a two or at most a three years' course. Excuse the homely phrase, but we must “cut the garment according to the cloth.” Keeping this in mind, the primary object aimed at is to teach the great principles of law and jurisprudence; but these are to be taught with special and direct reference to our system of law, and not some other. Nearly every law student contemplates admission to the bar and the practice of the law as a profession. This in connection with the short course compels the teaching to assume almost exclusively a practical character, and to be directed (if it will not mislead to say so) toward making the Limiteul student a lawyer rather than a jurist. I would study. that every student might receive what I
call a juristic training; but this is not, as tliings now stand, practicable to the full extent that is desir
1 Report of Committee of the American Bar Association, 1892, above mentioned, printed by the United States Bureau of Education: “Report on Legal Education" (1893), pp. 13, 15.
of the law
Lecture able. In saying this I must also take leave to III.
say that I decidedly think the actual course of
instruction in our law schools is too intensely pracTeaching tical and technical; that law if not taught too much
as an art is taught too little as a science; and that technical. the course of instruction can have and should have
a broader scope than it has when the student is confined to the usual text-books written for practising lawyers, and the designated illustrative cases, since the oral instruction rarely goes beyond this range. To supply this want, the Civil Law, for purposes
of comparative jurisprudence, and because of its more orderly and scientific arrangement, should, in its great outlines and essential character, be made an element of instruction to a greater extent than it is in our American law schools. Except in this view and in this incidental or subordinate way, I doubt its utility in the short course of legal study to which our law colleges are confined. I have long been of opinion that less than a three years' course of study ought not to be adopted.
2. The law must be learned from text-books, system" aud "text- adjudged cases, and oral instruction, including
therein lectures and class exercises. There is a
The difficulties in the way of teaching our law are many and great. Our law consists of, or is to be found in, constitutions and statutes, and what is
book system " of instruction.
called case-law or judiciary law. In our legal sys- Lecture tem the only authoritative sources, or, more accurately, the authoritative evidences of the latter and of the true meaning of the former, are to be found in the reported judgments of the courts. Now, fortunately for our jurisprudence, but unfortunately both for the teacher and the student, our case-law is embodied in many thousands of volumes of reports; and of these reports any system of instruction with which I am acquainted necessarily makes
Our elementary treatises, numbering many hundreds of volumes, are written not for the purpose of the teacher, or primarily for the purpose of the instruction of students, but for the use of the Need of practising lawyer. They are, therefore, not specially specially adapted to the use of the student or the teacher of for teachlaw. It is a work which belongs to the future, but ing law. it is a work which I think must sooner or later be done, — to cast our law into a more orderly, methodical, and scientific form; and when this shall be accomplished the work of the teacher and the student will be made much easier and more satisfactory than it now is. The great drawback to-day, alike of the teacher and the student, is the non-existence of elementary works written by lawyers of competent learning and experience, designed for the specific purpose of enabling the teacher to teach and the student to learn the elements, the great primor dial and essential principles of our jurisprudence. And by reason of the inorganic shape, if I may so express it, in which our law is found, comes the urgent need of oral instruction and exposition; for, after all, private law in its essence consists largely