American colleges fail to provide their students with a clear understanding of the role of law as a means of resolving conflicts in society, according to Harold J. Berman, professor of Law.
"It is a shocking thing that most American students graduate from college with only the faintest conception of the nature of our legal system, and especially of the judicial process," Berman said.
Berman was commenting on a three day Conference on the Teaching of Law in the Liberal Arts Curriculum, of which he was the chairman. A transcript of the proceedings of the conference, held at the Law School in November under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation, was released yesterday.
"There is no reason why the study of law should be a monopoloy of the law schools," Berman said. "A knowledge of the legal aspects of social life is fundamental to a proper understanding of both the social sciences and the humanities."
The conference did not come to any final conclusions on what kinds of law courses colleges should offer, but the 30 participants were generally agreed that efforts should be made to develop student's awareness of the nature of law as a means of creating and maintaining social order.
An introductory course in law, according to Judge Charles E. Wynanski, Jr. '27, who key noted the conference, should stress the techniques of legal reasoning and the political values of American society as they appear in our legal are tem.