Judge: Service with Legal Theory Improves Legal Education

Merhige, Hon, Robert R., Jr., Legal Education: Observations and Perceptions from the Bench, Wake Forest Law Review (Summer 1995)

Written from the perspective of a judge, the Honorable Robert R Merhige, this article discusses the negative public image of lawyering and the effect it has had on the profession itself.   Merhige argues that the current culture of lawyers no longer represents an eagerness to serve the public, and does little to discourage the notion that for most lawyers, the bottom line will be money.

In addition, it recommends changes to the current legal education system, which would directly address the public’s skepticism of lawyers today.  Merhige urges educational institutions to not only encourage students to take part in public service, but to place students early in their education into apprenticeships.  Through such service, students would become intimately familiar with the interactions and experiences had in the legal world and become more attune to the needs of the community in which they will be practicing.  Service coupled with legal theory, Merhige argues, would greatly improve law curriculum as a whole and potentially change the perception law students and the public have of lawyers themselves.

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