LIGHT AT THE LAW SCHOOL
Many people feel that in the last few years the supremacy which Harvard has long enjoyed in the legal field has been for the first time seriously challenged. For Harvard this challenge has meant a reexamination of the methods of teaching initiated many years ago and to a gratifying extent the system has been found as sound today as when first inaugurated.
This self-analysis which the law school has been carrying on for the last three years has, however, stimulated certain major changes. Most important is the new curriculum announced in an article by Professor Simpson in the April issue of the Harvard Law Review. To meet the increasing emphasis which the trend of the times is placing on new legal techniques, and to permit more intensive specialization in the final year, it has been found desirable to compress into the first two years much of the material traditionally studied over the whole course. The faculty committee, and in particular Dean Landis, are to be congratulated for resolutely resisting the temptation to initiate a four year course. Such a change would probably have enabled the faculty haphazardly to pile more work on the student rather than spurring professors to make better use of the student's time by more careful organization of courses.
Harvard has refused to adopt any of the fashions now current at some law schools. Yale takes great pride in disavowing the Harvard method of studying the historical and organic development of legal concepts rather than their "practical" value in modern law offices and courts. Boast is also made by Yale of the value of small classes in which there is close association between teacher and student. But, no matter how attractive on paper, the ultimate value of any scheme must be considered in the light of the ability and personality of the faculty which is to administer it.
The future for the Law School looks extraordinarily bright. Experiments of other schools are to be welcomed, but the healthy atmosphere in which all shades of opinion compete for belief, is not likely to be seriously challenged by the fads and fashions that arise from time to time. With a brilliant faculty, a curriculum suited to their abilities and to changing needs, and with an admissions system likely to get the best potential legal brains, the cause of raising and maintaining high legal standards in America will be served by Harvard in the future as in the past.