There is a myth that lingers around legal education in many democracies. That myth would have us believe that law students are admitted and then succeed based on raw merit, and that law schools are neutral settings in which professors (also selected and promoted based on merit) use their expertise to train those students to become lawyers. Based on original, empirical research, this book investigates this myth from myriad perspectives, diverse settings, and in different nations, revealing that hierarchies of power and cultural norms shape and maintain inequities in legal education.

Embedded within law school cultures are assumptions that also stymie efforts at reform. The book examines hidden pedagogical messages, showing how presumptions about theory’s relation to practice are refracted through the obfuscating lens of curricula. The contributors also tackle questions of class and market as they affect law training.

Finally, this collection examines how structural barriers replicate injustice even within institutions representing themselves as democratic and open, revealing common dynamics across cultural and institutional forms. The chapters speak to similar issues and to one another about the influence of context, images of law and lawyers, the political economy of legal education, and the agency of students and faculty.

chapter |10 pages


ByMindie Lazarus-Black, Elizabeth Mertz, Meera Deo

part I|2 pages

Legal Pedagogies in Context(s)

chapter 1|24 pages

Theory and Practice, Together at Last

A Heretical, Empirical Account of Canadian Legal Education
ByDavid Sandomierski

chapter 2|36 pages

Teaching International Lawyers How to Think, Speak, and Act like U.S. Lawyers

Notes on Inchoate Power and the Imperial Process
ByMindie Lazarus-Black

chapter 3|32 pages

In the Law School Classroom

Hidden Messages in French Elite Training
ByÉmilie Biland, Liora Israël

part II|2 pages

Class and Market in Legal Education

chapter 4|19 pages

Legal Training as Socialization to State Power

An Ethnography of Law Classes for French Senior Civil Servants
ByRachel Vanneuville

chapter 6|35 pages

Market Creep

“Product” Talk in Legal Education
ByRiaz Tejani

part III|2 pages

Invisible Processes and Images in Legal Training

chapter 7|33 pages

Language, Culture, and the Culture of Language

International JD students in U.S. Law Schools
BySwethaa Ballakrishnen, Carole Silver

chapter 9|23 pages

The Culture of “raceXgender” Bias in Legal Academia

ByMeera E. Deo

chapter 10|31 pages

Canaries in the Mines of the U.S. Legal Academy

ByElizabeth Mertz