Simon Rice, Why Prescriptive Legal Education Demands Critical Perspectives

Simon Rice, Why Prescriptive Legal Education Demands Critical Perspectives (August 30, 2018). Chapter 13 in Kevin Lindgren, François Kunc and Michael Coper (eds), „The Future Of Australian Legal Education: A Collection”, Lawbook Co, Sydney, 2018, pp 217-228; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/52. Available at SSRN


The idea of private legal practice pervades law schools and legal education, determining content and method, reflecting what Professor Nussbaum has called ‘the subservient origins’ of legal education. The pervasiveness of private legal practice in legal education fails both to prepare students for the diversity of legal practice, and to serve the interests of justice. If law graduates are to be ready for the wide variety of places they may take their legal knowledge, and seek to do justice, the method of delivering the prescribe curriculum must break away from the implicit strictures of that narrow focus, and teach law in its larger social context, through explicit and extensive use of theory.


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