The Nation's Law Schools

Robert M. Hutchins

[A speech delivered at the dedication of Rutgers Law School, 1966.
Reprinted from The Center Magazine, July-August 1986]

Dean Heckel has asked me to explore what should and can be done to place the study of law in the mainstream of the humanistic tradition, what might be needed, in his words, "to shake it out of its present how-to-do-it mold."

A how-to-do-it school is, I take it, one that aims to produce technicians, who will perform the technical services the society desires. The methods of instruction may vary in accordance with the estimate made at one institution or another of the best way to equip the technician. One how-to-do-it school may teach local practice and the drafting of legal instruments. Another, perhaps because it aims to be "national," may scorn these subjects as the indicia of a trade school and be nevertheless in the how-to-do-it mold because it aims at technical competence. When Professor Joseph Beal of Harvard said that the object of a law school should be to teach the student to make a noise like a lawyer, he was announcing a preference for a how-to-do-it institution. In such an institution the assumed requirements of the practice determine the course of study and the methods of instruction.

I respond to Dean Heckel's inquiry with some hesitation because of an experience I had only the other day. I was asked to advise a university committee on the establishment of a new law school. The committee had before it a draft report recommending the foundation of what it called a "standard law school" giving what it called the "traditional courses." The purpose of the school was to meet what was called the need for lawyers in the state.

On the basis of the frustrations of more than forty years, I objected to this purpose and to this method of accomplishing it and proposed some alternatives that seemed to me both simple and innocuous. When I had finished, the Chairman disposed of me in one admirably compact sentence in the best academic jargon. He said, "We are not structured for creativity."

I can only assume that Dean Heckel would not have asked his questions if he, at least, were not structured for sufficient creativity to consider possible answers. Yet I must say at the outset that the only effective answer has a rather repellent ring. I believe the way to shake the law school out of its how-to-do-it mold is to abandon the ideals implicit in that mold, to proclaim to all and sundry that the object of the law school is to understand the law, that the law school prepares students for the practice by helping them to such understanding, and that its emphasis is on theory because the best practical education is a theoretical one. I believe this is necessary for the sake of the student, the law school, the bar, the university, and the country. I believe that to establish another law school teaching traditional courses is to commit an anachronism.

It must be admitted that complications revolve around the difference between "can" and "should." How is it possible to suppose that anything can be done when in order to do anything significant it would be necessary to change fundamental attitudes and expectations of the American people? If our law schools are cast in a how-to-do-it mold it must be because this is the way almost everybody wants them to be. I am inclined to think this is the way almost everybody wants the whole educational system to be. Any other view is regarded as Utopian, reactionary, un-American, or even heartless, as when a student newspaper in California said last May that unless the University was cast in the how-to-do-it mold its graduates would starve to death.

There has never been any evidence that how-to-do-it instruction has saved or could save the young from starvation. On the contrary, if such instruction traps them in a set of outworn practices, they may find themselves on the road to the poor house because of it. I did a lot of harm myself in the days when the Yale Law School was a trade school. My object was to teach the students to memorize and manipulate the rules. This is what the School held itself out as doing. This is what the students expected. They were impatient with anything else, and they had the powerful support of the bar.

The Supreme Court stabbed my course in Public Utilities through the heart when it overruled Smyth v. Ames. The Court has been equally unkind to those rules of evidence which I painstakingly drilled into the student mind. As for my third course, Code Pleading, who cares about pleading now? In May, Mr. Justice Douglas, speaking for the Court, referred to a man who cared about it, Baron Parke, as an example of the sway that arid technicalities can acquire over the human mind.

If you are going to teach a student how to do it, you have to know how it is going to be done. As things turned out, in the courses I taught it was done differently from the way I said it would be. If we accept the doctrine current in those days that the law is what the courts will do, I did not teach law. Although I was very up-to-date - in Evidence I made great play with Sacco and Vanzetti and the Hall murder trial - I succeeded only in teaching what the law had been, something I would have roundly denied doing at the time.

The more rapid the rate of change, the more difficult it becomes to tell anybody how to do it. There have probably been more important, unexpected developments in American constitutional law in the last twelve years than in the whole period since the time of John Marshall. Brown v. Board of Education and Baker v. Can have been decided, and criminal procedure has been revised from start to finish. These events are undoubtedly related to social, economic, and technological changes, and if one thing seems certain in an uncertain world it is that such changes will accelerate in the future. These changes will be reflected, however tardily or erratically, in the law.

Some technological changes will affect the work of lawyers directly and hence put serious questions to how-to-do-it schools. All young lawyers and some old ones have had to spend most of their time looking up the law. We can say with some confidence that this laborious and uninspiring process is obsolescent. The law clerk will be automated. The law schools will have to teach the students how to do other things.

The how-to-do-it spirit is fatal to the university in any sense of that institution I can understand. If we want to say a university is a place where anybody can learn how to do anything he wants to learn to do or anybody wants him to learn to do, a place that will do anything anybody will pay to have done, I suppose there is no objection as long as we recognize that this is a novel and parochial use of the word. It would seem simpler and less confusing to follow Clark Kerr and refer to the university as a thing of the past, now superseded by a new thing with a new name, the multiversity.

Not that the university has ever been without the desire to serve society and meet its needs by furnishing it men competent to function in its important institutions. The issue is, what needs of society shall the university try to meet, how shall the choice of needs and services be decided, and what are the methods to be employed in the preparation of men and women for the tasks selected?

In the multiversity this issue is scarcely faced at all. Its determination is left to the parallelogram of forces set up by external pressure. The multiversity does whatever the most powerful groups can make it do. A glance at the American multiversity shows they can make it do almost anything.

The multiversity is necessarily cast in a how-to-do-it mold, because pressure groups want specific services performed by people specifically trained for the purpose. They want efficient hands, and they do not want to bother to train them themselves.

A multiversity cannot be autonomous, because the decisions about its life are made elsewhere. It cannot be an intellectual community. Thought is not necessary to training, and may be an interference with it. The how-to-do-it personnel and programs of one branch can be of little interest to other branches except as the practices of various occupations may accidentally come to a common focus: the schools of theology, music, speech, and mortuary science might, for example, discover a common interest in funerals.

If a law school looks to interdisciplinary studies as a way of breaking out of the how-to-do-it mold, it will find in the multiversity only such accidental connections, and it will find that these connections do not help it break out of the mold. On the contrary, they are likely to be regarded as valuable only as they supply additional weapons for the technician's arsenal. Interdisciplinary studies under these circumstances do not avert the curse that afflicts the multiversity and the subjects that it studies. That curse is the loss in intelligibility, a loss that comes, and comes inevitably, when technical competence is accepted as the aim of the institution. That aim produces an isolation of the disciplines that makes real interpenetration impossible.

The isolation of the Yale Law School in the bad old days was complete. It was only in a geographical sense a part of the University. There was no university faculty in which matters affecting the University as a whole could be taken up. If there had been, the Law School would not have derived much profit from it; for it had nothing in common with other departments and schools. The reason for the dreariness of university faculty meetings, where such faculties exist, is that the multiversity is divided into insulated compartments. Almost the only subject of common interest is the academic calendar. Experience shows that a great issue like academic freedom arouses only that section of the multiversity which feels itself directly threatened.

I hasten to say that young people must learn how to do it. The question is how and where. Anthony Crosland, Minister of Education and Science, has proposed for England what is called the binary plan. The university would be defined as an autonomous intellectual community. If the public had needs that could not be met by that kind of institution, the university would neither be changed to satisfy these demands nor abandoned for the multiversity. Other institutions would be established to meet demands that the university could not gratify without destroying itself.

Something of this kind could have been done, and in some states was actually done for a time, in the land grant colleges. The land grant colleges could have taken the pressure toward how-to-do-it off the universities. Instead the universities, when they did not become land grant colleges themselves, as they did in half the states, became indistinguishable from them. When it comes to how-to-do-it, there is not much to choose between Michigan and Michigan State.

The American system, under which every conceivable kind of training, every conceivable kind of investigation, and every conceivable kind of service is thought to be the proper duty of the university is, after all, unique. Other countries produce technicians of every kind, apparently in a quantity and of a quality adequate to their needs; in quantity and quality some of them do not suffer by comparison with our own production. Other countries have not found it necessary, in order to teach young people how to do it, to construct their universities on the how-to-do-it plan.

We are a "practical" people, one easily hornswoggled by something represented as practical that has no practical value. We are a "democratic" people, one that finds it snobbish to say one study is better than another. Hence we have been smoothly seduced into the multiversity, which justifies itself by asserting that all subjects of instruction, including those of specious practicality and those which put no strain on the mind, have an equal claim on its hospitality. As long ago as the nineties this was effectively the manifesto in which Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Andrew D. White, David Starr Jordan, and Charles W. Eliot joined.

The American university has therefore readily lent itself to the ambitions of those occupations which aspired to the dignity and emoluments traditionally associated with the professions. The way for an occupation to limit competition and acquire social standing has been to establish a so called professional school in the state university and then require everybody who wishes to enter the occupation to show a degree from the school or its equivalent.

The prestige of these degrees has rested on popular distrust of all American occupational groups. They are commonly regarded as seeking their own selfish interests at the expense of the public. A course in Legal Ethics used to be required in all law schools. As I remember it, it was a course in how to keep the trust companies from getting the business. Although in other countries the professions are often expected to supervise the education and admission of neophytes, this rule could hardly be followed in the United States, where the professions are dominated by the spirit of the stagehands' union in New York: it has succeeded in making membership hereditary. The university, however inefficient it might be and however subservient to the demands of an occupational group, was at least relatively impartial as among the interests supporting it and might have some notion of the professional standards demanded by the public good. In the law the distrust of the profession and the relative standing of the university combined to put an end to on-the-job training, but it did not change the character of that training. That would have been regarded as "impractical." The central distinction on which a university law school should be founded was not made. That is the distinction between what the student ought to know that he can learn only in the university and what he ought to know that he can learn, and learn better, in the practice. The law school did it all. My course in Evidence, for example, was taught on the wholly mistaken theory that the student could go from my classroom to the courtroom, where he could at once begin to outmanipulate his opponent. In a trade-school atmosphere this result is inescapable, if only because of the restlessness of the students when faced with anything that does not appear to teach them how to do it. I remember when Karl Llewellyn gave his class in commercial law six lectures on the history of the law merchant. If he had given a seventh, he would have been lynched. W hat is wrong with the multiversity? How can one be sure that the supersession of the university is not progress? The answer must lie in what a university can be - not what it has been, not what it is, but what it can be. Let me take an analogy from a field in which nobody here has a vested interest, the encyclopedia. We think of this now as a ready-reference or how-to-do-it book. But the great encyclopedias have always cherished quite a different ideal, no matter how short of it they have fallen. They have wanted to help the reader understand the world. They have wanted to do this by drawing in all its perfection the circle of knowledge, from which the encyclopedia derived its name. To charge the maker of such a work with failure to supply current information on all the trivialities of life would be an insult to his aims. So when Karl Jaspers proposed something new in Europe, a technological faculty in the university, it did not occur to him to rest his case on the need for more, or even for better, technicians. He did not say, "We must keep ahead of Russia." He talked neither of the "success" of the individual nor the power and prosperity of the state. He was dealing with the problem of making the world intelligible. His words were, "The university must face the great problem of modern man: how out of technology there can arise that metaphysical foundation of a new way of life that technology has made possible." I take this to mean that the university must fashion the mind of the technological age.

Jaspers wants technology in the university in order to round out the circle of knowledge. He wants this for the sake of technology, which cannot be understood except in the light of other disciplines; for the sake of the other disciplines, which cannot be understood without understanding technology; and for the sake of society, which needs, perhaps more than anything else, to have the world made intelligible. Intellectual communities organized for this task are universities in a sense that I can understand. In such an institution interdisciplinary studies are not accidents or superficial adornments. They are of the essence. And in such an institution interdisciplinary studies can at last be effective, because those involved have a common aim, to draw the circle of knowledge. This aim is moved from the periphery to the center of their attention.

The circle of knowledge can be drawn only in and by an intellectual community. If a professor is nothing but a specialist, a technician, or a how-to-do-it man, he cannot really understand his own subject, because it cannot be understood except in relation to the others. Neither can he take part in drawing the circle of knowledge, because he is not interested or qualified to make the connections between his subject and the others.

The university can become an incandescent center only to the extent that it becomes an intellectual community. Otherwise individuals may do great work and shed a brilliant light, but the university as a university does no more than provide a place for them. Valuable as this service is, it is not the same as the kind of corporate illumination that can be expected from an intellectual community each of whose members and each of whose subjects enlightens and is enlightened by the rest.

The notion of the circle of knowledge and of the intellectual community is not merely a requirement of speculative thought. It is also a requirement of practical life. No man, least of all a lawyer, lives within the boundaries set by his vocational techniques. The disciplines have to be studied in the light of one another because they have to be lived together. No great problem -of modern man, to use Jaspers' phrase, can be seen, to say nothing of solved, from the standpoint of one discipline alone. The specialties have to develop in the context of one another if they are to serve the practical judgment of mankind. We are all familiar with the practical as well as speculative excesses or deficiencies of great specialists who at an early age became detached from all but their own small spot on the intellectual map.

In a university subjects have to be studied as ends in themselves, not with a view to their practical utility as commonly misunderstood. The fact that all knowledge may be applied cannot be permitted to mean that the university must aim at applications or that this aim must be decisive of the methods of investigation. So an English scholar, A. Phillips Griffiths, has said, "To say that in universities subjects are pursued as ends in themselves is not then to say that they are all useless; it is only to say that their use does not determine the way they are studied.... Turning out people with technical abilities is not, then, incompatible with the essential function of a university; but it will become so if this aim is allowed to determine its activities. We may also say that when this aim does become the determinant of its activities, it fails to achieve this aim on the highest level."

If the technical objective determines the content and methods of higher education, that education will be incompatible with the essential function of the university and at the same time will not be very good technical education. The best practical education is a theoretical one.

Can the multiversity accept a law school that is not in the how-to-do-it mold? If it did so, could the school accomplish its aim, which is simply to understand the law and bring it within the circle of knowledge?

The shopping-center principle and the vast supplies of money that have lately become available are relevant here. The shopping-center principle means that you offer anything for which there is any demand. For example, a good many multiversities, having heard that there is a market for something called liberal education, have started something called by that name. They are careful not to commit themselves to this kind of education, because they want to offer other packages to other markets. So an "experiment" in legal education, as such ventures are called in applications to foundations, could probably be established in a multiversity and could easily be financed.

Would the "experiment" be worth making? Probably not. On the Principle of Least Harm, which should guide all university administrators, the proposal has merit, because the new school would do less damage than the old. But unless it could command the resources and the independence to become a small university itself it could not form an adequate intellectual community, and it could not draw the circle of knowledge. In short, you cannot have a university law school unless you have a university to put it in.

To the attitudes and aims of the distinguished provost of this university I most heartily subscribe. I would accuse him only of a kind of misleading utopianism. As he says in his eloquent address to the Association of Land Grant Colleges, he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants a university. He does not want a multiversity. But he wants a university that will do all the things a multiversity does.

The desire to have one's cake and eat it is probably the oldest and commonest ambition of mankind. But it has never been done. I am reminded of the educational administrator who told me what he was going to do. I said, "You ought not to do that. You ought to do the exact opposite." He said, "We'll do that too." It is possible in one institution, one in a manner of speaking, to do a thing and do its exact opposite; but such an institution is the kind Mr. Schlatter does not want: it is a multiversity.

The method by which Mr. Schlatter proposes to have his cake is the college of arts and sciences, which is to unify and integrate the university and prevent it from becoming a multiversity. But he himself correctly identifies the enemies of liberal education as professionalism, specialization, and vocationalism, which are the essential characteristics of those multiversity activities with which Mr. Schlatter would surround the college of arts and sciences.

How can liberal education survive in the presence of so many enemies? We can find the answer in Mr. Schlat-ter's words. He says, "Some day I would like to discover at Rutgers a student in physics, or chemistry, or biology, who is not enrolled in his major because he intends to go on in it professionally, but simply because these are, in fact, great intellectual disciplines ..." The fact that Mr. Schlatter has not yet found such a student at Rutgers suggests that even here the hope that liberal education may save the university from the multiversity is vain. As Jacques Barzun has shown, liberal education and the college of arts and sciences, which has been its nominal home, are being squeezed between the high school and the multiversity. We are not likely to have so much as a crumb left. Cake is where the heart is. The heart of the multiversity is precisely where Mr. Schlatter places it, in professionalism, specialization, and vocationalism. So the president of a considerable multiversity, James A. Perk-ins of Cornell, has expressly abandoned, in a casual way, as though the abandonment were self-evidently necessary and desirable, the task of understanding. He says, "Where the university has thought of itself as an institution which could explore independently the unity of knowledge, it now finds that it must concentrate on specialized segments of knowledge in order to maintain excellence." The language is almost Orwellian, for it seems to say that incomprehension has now been found indispensable to excellence. Mr. Perkins condemns himself to a multiversity by seeing his institution as a collection of departments that have formally repudiated any common task. Just as I think Mr. Schlatter's hopes for the preservation of liberal education are vain, so are any for shaking a multiversity law school out of the how-to-do-it mold. The surrounding enemies are too numerous and too powerful. The only way to combat them would be to go underground. I prefer open war, war on the multiversity, war on the how-to-do-it law school. Both of them represent the degradation of great ideas. I have an exalted opinion of what the university might be. I regard the law, in Mr. Schlatter's words, as "a great intellectual discipline," to be studied as such. To have the university and the law school dedicated to training technicians is so far from the potentialities of either as to be a scandal, and one too flagrant to continue.

The responsibilities and opportunities of the university and the law school are now greater than ever. Society needs a center of independent thought and criticism as never before. The law faces new problems that must be solved if civilization is to survive. The university is the place where wisdom can be generated. The law needs that wisdom and must contribute to it. Other civilizations have fallen because of the barbarians without. That may happen to us. But it seems more likely that we may fall a prey to the barbarians within, from which the university and the law might save us.

If we see the university as a center of independent thought and criticism and the law as an ordinance of reason directed to the common good, we understand how the two come together and how the one requires the other. The intellectual community has to think together about important matters; the law is the application of thought to what is perhaps the most important of all matters, the regulation and direction of the common life. Law teaches us how to lead the common life and disseminates newly discovered moral truths.

The law becomes a university subject, as distinguished from one appropriate to a multiversity, when it is seen not as a collection of coercive rules to be manipulated by the technician, but as a body of principles of the highest moral and pedagogical value. The task of the university law school is the clarification and refinement of these principles, which are relevant to the life and to the study of everybody inside and outside the university. Since law is architectonic, which means that it shapes the conduct of society, everything in the society is relevant to it.

The study appropriate to a university law school is jurisprudence. In the days when the Yale Law School was a trade school, jurisprudence was an elective course in the first semester of the third year taken by fifteen students, all of whom were obvious eccentrics. But consider what jurisprudence is in Lon Fuller's definition of it. He said, "Jurisprudence is concerned with the nature of law, its purposes, the means (institutional and conceptual) necessary to effectuate those purposes, the limits of the law's efficacy, the relation of law to justice and morality, and the modes by which law changes and grows historically." I think you will agree that the subjects included in this definition are matters a lawyer ought to understand. I think you will agree, too, that the graduate of a how-to-do-it law school is unlikely to understand them. I am sure you will agree that these are matters the lawyer cannot come to understand in the practice. The only place he can do so is a university law school that has been shaken out of the how-to-do-it mold. I hope you will agree that the lawyer will be a better practicing lawyer if he understands these matters. He will be able to understand the direction of change and the reasons for it. His university and his law school will have been examining these issues. His university and his law school, far from being surprised by change, will have anticipated and perhaps contributed to it. The graduate of such a law school will be educated. An educated man knows what he is doing and why. He can learn how to do it in the practice. In Jaspers' phrase once more, the university should face the great problems of modern man. The university law school should face them under the aspect of the law. I am not saying that the university or its law school can or should solve these problems. It can and should identify and clarify them. The university law school would not be a "standard" school, though the names of the traditional courses might appear. Even Evidence, Code Pleading, and Public Utilities might be there. The statutes and cases upon which law students have fed would still constitute much of their diet. Even Smyth v. Ames, the New York Code of 1848, and Commonwealth v. Sacco etal. might deserve some mention. But the statutes and the cases would be examined jurisprudentially, that is, to show "the nature of the law, its purposes, the means (institutional and conceptual) necessary to effectuate those purposes, the limits of the law's efficacy, the relation of law to justice and morality, and the modes by which law changes and grows historically." The Constitution of the United States says nothing in regard to issues about which Americans are most concerned today. It does not mention technology, bureaucracy, education, cities, planning, civil disobedience, political parties, corporations, labor unions, or the organization of the world. It does not contemplate the conquest of the moon. And its references to communication, like its conception of the common defense, are, in the light of our present and impending experience, primitive in the extreme. Meanwhile, the subject that necessarily preoccupied the founding fathers, the government of territory, has been largely eliminated by the elimination of geography.

In Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell, decided in 1934, Mr. Chief Justice Hughes said, "The vast body of law which has been developed was unknown to the fathers, but it is believed to have preserved the essential content and spirit of the Constitution. ... This development is a growth from the seeds which the fathers planted."

What is the essential content or spirit of the Constitution? How do we tell a growth from the seeds the fathers planted from a weed sown surreptitiously by less respectable hands? These are jurisprudential questions. So are the burning issues on which the Supreme Court has passed in the last twelve years, from desegregation and reapportionment to obscenity and libel.

But these are nothing to the issues that lie lurking like booby traps in the road ahead. Can science be constitutionalized? Can technology be controlled? Can a law, not merely of the world, but of the universe, be formulated, adopted, and enforced? Can and should the old geographical federalism be replaced by some kind of professional or occupational federalism? Must a modern government plan, and, if so, how can planning be made compatible with democracy? Are trustbusting laws that do not bust trusts and regulatory agencies that do not regulate the way to make an economic system serve the common good? How can the citizen cope with bureaucracy? Can we think of nothing better than the ombudsman and the Conseil d'Etat? What law should govern the communications revolution that is under way, which will bring into our homes the accumulated wisdom and folly of the race at the push of a button? Who will own and operate the satellites through which the fate of our culture may be decided?

I hold no brief for this list and should be glad to subscribe, arguendo at least, to any other; for the point I am making is only that the task of the university is to identify and clarify the great issues of our time, and the task of the university law school is to do so under the aspect of the law.

Whether or not we face this list of problems -- or any other list that results from the deliberations of the faculty -- our students are going to have to face them. If the law schools do not face them, our students are likely to look back on their legal education as I look back on mine. It was a valuable experience, because I had to learn to work hard, to read and write, and to try to make a clear statement that would stand up under cross-examination. But it was an experience that failed to make intelligible either the law in books or the law in action, and it did not suggest what might be expected of me as an officer of the court and a member of a learned profession.

The university should be restricted to teachers and students of the great intellectual disciplines. The teachers and students in other disciplines than the law would be pondering the same, or many of the same, issues under consideration in the law school. At the moment I cannot think of any significant issue that is without legal aspects; and I cannot think of any significant issue that is exclusively legal. The constitutionalization of science, the guidance of technology, and the direction of the communications revolution, for example, involve almost every great intellectual discipline, and they obviously involve the law. Drawing the circle of knowledge requires the collaboration of the whole community.

Insofar as collaboration is embarked upon in order to improve the technical competence of the participants, it is in no way superior to more familiar devices, like drill in the rules, directed to the same end.

No one can object, for instance, to the study of human behavior. Nobody can deny that judges are human and that their behavior can be a legitimate object of investigation. The study of small groups, like appellate courts, is fascinating to those who want to find out about such matters. Nevertheless, the articles on behavioral science and the law in the current issue of the Harvard Law Review can have little interest for a university law school, for they merely suggest that behavioral scientists have some data that will help lawyers predict what courts will do.

The articles in the Harvard Law Review raise the question of whether the branch of behavioral science they represent is an intellectual discipline; for only the most rudimentary kind of thought seems necessary to the studies there described. The kind of thought required does not seem to reach beyond the level of the most significant contribution this branch of behavioral science has yet made, the public opinion poll.

Since these studies do not help us to understand the law but offer only some rather inadequate light on the probable attitudes of judges, they can hardly claim the attention of a university law school. Even if they provided infallible guides to the behavior of judges, they would have little value to a university law school in the context in which they are presented, namely, as additions to the weapons in the technician's arsenal.

Seventy years ago a young New York lawyer went to see an old one in Wisconsin and found him in the evening reading by the stove in the center of his office. The New York lawyer told me the story when he was old himself. When they had finished discussing the case they had in hand, the Wisconsin lawyer said, "Tell me, Mr. Debevoise, is it true what I hear, that there are men in New York City who are practising law for money?"

Even in the remote fastnesses of Alaska or Hawaii that question would hardly be asked today.

Yet a profession is a group organized to perform a public service. There is usually a confidential relation to the recipient of the service, one of advice, guidance, and expert assistance, which makes the rule of caveat emptor peculiarly inappropriate. And there is an esprit de corps resting, among other things, on a common education and centering on the maintenance of standards. In theory, at least, the group seeks to perform the service and to maintain the standards even though more money could be made in ways that would endanger the confidential relation and the quality of the work.

A learned profession is one based on a great intellectual discipline. It has intellectual content and has it in its own right. A learned profession has something of its own that it can bring to the task of drawing the circle of knowledge and facing the great problems of modern man.

Such a profession is the law. What it can bring to the common task is jurisprudence, through which it gains insight into what reason ordains to achieve the common good. To serve the common good by discovering what reason ordains for its achievement is the sworn duty of the legal profession. A graduate of a university law school such as I have briefly sketched would be qualified to take an honorable place at a bar dedicated to this duty.

The university and the university law school might in some such way as this place the study of law in the mainstream of the humanistic tradition. Can it be done?

Perhaps I have been describing Utopia, but at least I would claim that this Utopia is not misleading. It represents an ideal that could be achieved, and hence one toward which it is worthwhile to strive. The multiversity and the how-to-do-it law school do not reflect the considered judgment of the country. They crept on us unawares. What we need now is the liveliest kind of debate - which I hope may start today - on the question of whether they can meet the real needs of our society and the world and, if not, how they can be replaced by the university and the university law school.