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Legal education's mission

Submitted by Nigel Duncan on Wed, 09-05-2012
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Legal education's mission
Pue, W. Wesley
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The Law Teacher
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United Kingdom
This is one of seven articles collected into a Special Issue of the Law Teacher, published in 2008. The special issue constitutes a reprise of an article by Burridge and Webb, published in 2007, vol. 10, 1 Legal Ethics, pp 72-97 and a series of responses to the arguments presented in that article. It concludes with a response to those articles by Burridge and Webb.
Wesley Pue places his response to Burridge and Webb within an analysis of the nature of the liberal state and explores the complex relationship between liberalism in that sense and tolerance. He identifies the tension between liberalism's rejection of indoctrination and its retention of ultimate values. He then applies this to legal education: both in respect of the inherent tension between producing educated individuals and good lawyers and in the context of the fact that laws in the common law world are the product of tensions within a liberal state. This is largely to endorse Burridge and Webb's arguments. Pue's critique is then founded on the comfortable position from which the authors write. Those in less elite institutions or in other jurisdictions may find it hard to achieve the ideals expressed. The pressures of the professions, student aspiration and US cultural dominance all come into his analysis. He criticises their proposal that institutions should commit to particular values, and while welcoming their optimism about the scope for experiential learning methods to achieve many of their goals, cautions about the cost of providing it well enough for it to do so.
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