Lawyers in Society
Typically offered every other year
This course consists of a multi-disciplinary examination of the role of lawyers in society. Enrollment is limited to 40 students. The limited class size allows students to take an active role in shaping and presenting the material. The goal of the course is to provide a provocative and challenging exploration of what it means to be a lawyer and a member of the legal profession. The course encourages a rigorous study of the jurisprudence of lawyering, but also allows students to reflect on the profession they are about to enter and to shape the life they plan to lead. Particular coverage will be adapted to student interest, but may include such subjects as the philosophy of advocacy and representation, the history, structure and make-up of the legal profession, societal attitudes towards lawyers and the legal system, the psychological aspects of encountering the legal system as a client, access to justice issues, the causes and cures of dissatisfaction among lawyers, the role of law schools in the creation of professional identity, and new and evolving conceptions of legal practice.
Active participation is an essential element of the course. Students read and discuss a broad range of materials, many of which are non-legal in nature. Participation also includes individual and group projects, some of which require preparation outside of class. The projects differ in scope and structure, but most emphasize the refinement of communication and collaboration skills, as well as other skills critical to the practice of law. Students also write a series of short written essays. The essays allow students to reflect on course themes, and to pay particular attention to the craft of writing in a non-technical context. Students are evaluated on their participation (including their completion of projects) and their written work.
As this course devotes little if any attention to the legal regulation of lawyers, it does not satisfy the professionalism graduation requirement.