Friday, July 19, 2019
The Beginning of Law Schools and The Study of Law Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Up to the middle of the last century, the more popular method of legal instruction in America was the training of young law students in the office of a judge or practicing attorney. Even today a large number of lawyers in the United States receive their training somewhat in the same manner. In order to be admitted into the practice of law, one must pass a bar examination. This exam is conducted by a court or board acting under judicial direction. The knowledge needed to study for and pass the exam can be found wherever the candidate thinks they can find it. The oldest law school in America was of Judge Reeve in Litchfield, Connecticut, established in 1784. For several decades’ law students received their training through lectures and instruction by Judge Reeve and his assistants, whom were practicing lawyers. This oldest American law school was a private institution. After some time there was a rise in competitors, and law courses were introduced in connection with existing colleges. Among the new schools was Harvard College, whose first professorship of law dates from 1816, but the school did not attain its position of great and rapidly increasing significance for the development of legal instruction till 1830 (Gillers 20). In the beginning, the older American law schools were referred to as lecture schools. The “Blackstone’s Commentaries';, which were used for instruction earlier, formed the sole basis of work for these lecture schools. Through the lecture method a new style of teaching came about. It was called the text-book method. The main concept of this method was for the students to study and memorize the literature in the books and recite it to the instructor. In this method most of the students class time was occupied by mechanical testing of their knowledge and quizzing them during special hours (23). The two methods of instruction-lecture method and text-book method- were always present in newer schools and very effective. Even today in the United States these methods are used with a lot of improvements and added detail. During the early 1870’s a man by the name of Christopher Columbus Langdell created a new method of instruction for English law. Langdell was a New York city lawyer, he was appointed dean of Harvard law school in 1875. Langdell wanted to revise the curriculum of the school.