20 November 2013

ARTICLES: Arthurs on Legal Education and Smith on Peter Birks and Comparative Law

Two new articles from Canada on SSRN might be of interest: Harry Arthurs’ ‘The future of legal education: three visions and a prediction’ and Lionel Smith’s ‘Peter Birks and Comparative Law’.


The abstract for Arthurs’ paper reads:

I’m going to present three quite different views of what law schools ought to be and ought to do. The first holds that their primary, if not their sole, function should be to produce "practice-ready lawyers" for today’s profession. The second is that they should produce "tomorrow’s lawyers", lawyers with the capacity to adapt to the rapidly and radically changing circumstances of legal practice. And the third is that law schools should play a leading role in the creation and transformation of legal knowledge, legal practice, and the legal system — a role that requires them to provide their students with a large and liberal understanding of law that will prepare them for a variety of legal and non-legal careers. I’ll end by making a prediction about which model represents the future of law school. Or perhaps you’ve guessed already.

The abstract for Smith’s paper, forthcoming in the (2014) Revue de droit de l’Université de Sherbrooke, reads:

This paper was presented to the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Quebec Association of Comparative Law at the Faculté de droit, Université de Sherbrooke, in October 2011, within the conference theme “The jurists who have shaped comparative law: their dreams, works, successes and failures.” It studies aspects of the thought of Peter Birks in relation to comparative law, Roman law, legal scholarship and legal education. Birks valued comparative law, and thought that it could be more thoroughly integrated into research and teaching in law. About Roman law, however, he was passionate. He viewed it as a fascinating object of study and reflection, and as an essential part of undergraduate legal education. He deprecated the decline of Roman law as part of the law school curriculum. In this paper, I suggest that one reaction to the decline of Roman law in legal education could be a more comprehensive embrace of comparative law. If comparative law were integrated carefully into the curriculum, it could bring to students all of the benefits that Birks found in the study of Roman law.

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