Incompetence, social costs, severing, plucking, law schools, law offices, legal education, educators, liberal-arts, foundation
After I had cut off my hands and grown new ones, something my former hands had longed for came and asked to be rocked. After my plucked out eyes had withered and new ones grown, something my former eyes had wept for came asking to be pitied. 2 The above quotation has been applied to lawyers and in particular the process of legal education. It is a distressing thought for anyone who cares about the law and considers it a worthy profession. Must people sever hands that can rock and pluck out eyes that can pity in order to become a lawyer? Surely not, but there is more severing and plucking that takes place in our law schools and law offices than lawyers would care to admit. Although most students enter law schools with a liberal-arts education, legal educators do not properly build upon this foundation. Indeed, we often feel it necessary to uproot the foundation and replace it with one designed to promote legal reasoning. After-dinner homilies about the well-rounded Renaissance lawyer aside, lawyers and law students are not encouraged to read broadly in the arts and the humanities. In fact, law students and young lawyers are inundated with legal reading which consumes not only their time, but also their desire and energy to read anything else.
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A. Wayne MacKay, “The Social Costs of Incompetence: An Educator's View”, Comment, (1982-1983) 7:1 DLJ 160.