Law School to Keep First- Year Program

Behavioral Studies Report

The Law School is not seriously considering any change in its first-year curriculum, Kingman Brewster, Jr., professor of Law, said last night.

Brewster was referring to a passage in the recent report of the Faculty Commitee on the Behavioral Studies which found "expressed concern on the part of some members of the faculty lest the present first-year curriculum be too narrow and too technical in its focus."

In their first year, Law students must take four required full courses: Procedure, Property, Contracts, and Torts. The Committee's report said the Law School attempts to "supplant the often vague generalization of undergraduate learning with the case method's focus on rigorous logic and precise expression." Brewster said the School has not yet found any suggestion for a change that would not "weaken and dilute the rigors of legal analysis."

David F. Cavers, Associate Dean of the Law School, agreed with the report that "activities of regional, state, and metropolitan administration deserve more attention than they now receive."

"In past years the School has been oriented toward problems of federal law," Cavers said, "but now we should strengthen our studies of state and local governmental problems."

In addition the report saw a need for a general education course for undergraduates to give some "legal exposure to those who will probably not get it later." "The aim here," the report continued, "would not be to impart a knowledge of 'the law' but to convey a sense of the methods, attitudes, values, and functions which make up the legal process."

Harold J. Berman, professor of Law, agreed with this finding of the faculty committee. Such a general education course, he said, would "not in any sense make lawyers out of college students, but make better citizens."

Last November, Berman headed a three-day conference which studies the teaching of Law in the liberal arts curriculum. Although three are undergraduate general education legal courses, his report said that those courses are usually taken only by students who go on to Law School.

The report also found that "unlike the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, there is room for promotion to permanency, barring incompetence, for all those except visiting lecturers and teaching fellows appointed to a temporary basis. This practice," the report continued, "enables the School to compete for outstanding younger men who otherwise would be reluctant to leave promising careers at the bar."