Law 165 - Radical Critiques of American Legal Education
Frances Elisabeth Olsen
J.D. University of Colorado, 1971
S.J.D. Harvard, 1984
Love it or hate it, law school is a life-altering experience. For some, the process of learning law is exhilarating and builds confidence; even so, it often changes students’ values and even their characters in ways that seem beyond their control and not always to their liking. For others law school is alienating and isolating. This course examines the politics of American legal education in order to help students to put their own personal experiences into a broader context. Readings include personal narratives from legal scholars writing from several perspectives – e.g., critical legal studies, feminism, and critical race theory – who analyze theoretically their own reactions to law school. These theoretical analyses present new ways of understanding the legal materials covered in first year classes and facilitate deeper reflection on the student’s personal experience of legal education. Before each class meeting, students will write reflection papers on the assigned reading in which, to the extent possible, they draw on their first semester experiences.