Collaborative Research Networks

CRN19  Legal Education


Swethaa Ballakrishnen, John Bliss, David Sandomierski, Adrien Habermacher

This CRN seeks to advance the recent empirical and comparative turn in legal education scholarship by fostering community and collaboration in this rapidly growing field. The ongoing global wave of legal education research supplements and enriches perennial debates among law teachers as to the meaning, purposes, limits, and opportunities for legal education. In the U.S., this research has shed light on the both the highly embattled status of the JD program as well as the expanding internationalization of American law schools amid discourses of crisis. In Canada, emerging scholarship aims to identify and challenge the foundational practices in light of longstanding debates between the academy and profession over curricular control. Furthermore, in many emerging economies, law schools are experimenting with and adapting different versions of the “global” – offering new insights to local growth and exchange moderated by foreign influences. Beyond empirical perspectives, these developments have also sparked theoretical interest among institutional scholars examining increasingly convergent concerns and parallels across jurisdictions in a globalized age. Similarly, at the individual level, this research has been important for unpacking larger debates about diversity, inclusion and reproduction of hierarchy. Notwithstanding these institutional, structural, and market forces, legal education remains a powerful mechanism of professional identity formation and an avenue for public contribution. Moreover, the increasing presence of undergraduate legal education programs, in law & society, liberal studies, and legal studies, underscore the breadth of possible ends and means of legal education, a breadth that is also starting to be recognized in the literature.


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