Revisiting a Classic: Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy The Ghost in the Law School: How Duncan Kennedy Caught the Hierarchy Zeitgeist but Missed the Point

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Title:
Revisiting a Classic: Duncan Kennedy's Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy The Ghost in the Law School: How Duncan Kennedy Caught the Hierarchy Zeitgeist but Missed the Point
Year: 
2005
Publication: 
Journal of Legal Education
Volume: 
55
Issue: 
Start Page: 
94
End Page: 
Publisher: 
Language: 
English
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Abstract:

In his manifesto, Duncan Kennedy aptly identified hierarchies within legal scholarship and the legal profession, but his conclusion--hierarchies in law are wrong and must be resisted--is misplaced. Kennedy’s Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System, claims law schools breed a hierarchical system, where rank plays an important part in how law schools relate to each other; how faculty members relate to each other and to students; and how students relate to other students. This system trains students to accept and prepare for their place within the hierarchy of the legal profession. According to Kennedy, such training teaches students the necessity of embracing the ideas and opinions of those above their status in the hierarchy in order to succeed. To Kennedy and others, this is a recognizable danger with the potential to perpetuate injustice. While Kennedy’s observation of a hierarchical system’s potential to breed injustice is correct, his conclusion is not inevitable. Instead of focusing on the supposedly evil nature of the hierarchical system, Kennedy might have acknowledged the influence that hierarchies must have in training and supporting lawyers who do seek justice. A solution to injustice is not resisting hierarchies, as Kennedy suggests; rather, a better solution is to set hierarchies in place that promote justice, to which lawyers can be subordinate.

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