Dalhousie Law Journal


Leon E. Trakman


Canadian Law Schools, excellence, leadership potential, faculty, students, public image, communication, strengths, weaknesses, institutional purposes


What makes a law school sound? credible? even excellent? Surely many things: leadership potential, good faculty and good students, a solid public image and communication. Greatness comes from knowing our own strengths and weaknesses, our institutional purposes. In short, achievement flows from how we evaluate ourself and how others evaluate us.' A law school must seek to satisfy many goals. Ideally, every legal institution should strive to excel as a facility of learning, as a bastion of intellectual fervor, as an instrument satisfying community needs. Yet each of these goals are themselves variable in kind. Teaching expertise in one legal community represents undesirable teaching standards in another institution. Scholarly contribution in one setting may well be construed as scholarly inertia elsewhere. Achievement and productivity are therefore relative values; for their substance depends on their capacity to satisfy identifiable needs, responding to institutional interests and community concerns.