Law Schools and Ethics of Democracy

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Contemporary critical analyses of legal education indicate that legal education is
undemocratic as it is based on a discipline that produces subjects who obey hierarchies, are free from the habit of criticism and are ready to self-sacrifice for promotion
in the social hierarchy. At the same time, critical analyses offer the very passive vision of the law student as merely ‘being processed’ through the educational grinder.
Paradoxically, in doing so they confirm the vision they criticize. This article argues
that, by adopting a pragmatic philosophical perspective, it is possible to go beyond
this one-sided picture. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in ‘practical’ attitudes in legal education. Socrates’ model of didactics, clinical education and
moot courts are giving rise to institutionalized ideas as structural elements of legal
education, owing to which a purely disciplinary pedagogy may be superseded. All
these practices allow students to accept and confront the viewpoints of others. Education completed in harmony with these ideas promotes an active, critical member of
community, who is ready to advance justified moral judgements, and as such is compliant with pragmatic ethics of democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalLaw and Method
Issue numberAugust
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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