Law in Contemporary Society

Prospectus For Prospectives

Why You Might Want to Take This Course

For most of the last thousand years English-speaking lawyers have completed their educations, gotten a license to practice, and set out to acquire clients. For the last few decades, graduates of a few "elite" law schools have traded their licenses for jobs in large law firms, where young lawyers earned large salaries doing socially unproductive work on behalf of a few wealthy corporations and individuals, often to the explicit disadvantage of the rest of society.

Now that system is breaking down. The availability of socially parasitic, highly-remunerated employment not making justice can no longer be taken for granted. Many people are frightened and upset by this fact. You shouldn't be. The early 21st century is a wonderful time to be getting a law license and building a law practice, if you've been well trained to take advantage of your opportunities.

The problem is that you're paying a great deal of money but you're not certain to be well-trained. You require teachers who understand how to build law practices under 21st-century conditions, and who can help you overcome the fear of non-conformity, to find a path for yourself in a school where the majority of your classmates, and a majority of their teachers, are still living in the past.

In this course, I attempt to offer you what a first-year student who wants to have her own practice, steer his own boat, do well by doing good, ought to be taught. Our focus is on two questions: how to think creatively in law school, and how to think creatively about your future as a lawyer. The two topics are directly related: understanding how to create in the medium of the law is essential if you are to create agile, socially beneficial, economically prosperous law practices, in partnership with others or on your own. We don't study doctrine, we study lawyering: what it's about, how it is changing, how to find your own voice in the profession you are joining, rather than signing up as a cog in a failing machine.

All the work of our course—all our reading, all our reading, all the discussion that doesn't happen live in the classroom—occurs in this wiki. Please look around. If you look at WebHome, the front page, and click the "History" button, you can see all the reading assignments that have ever been given, so you can see how the course evolves week to week according to what we are all deciding to discuss. In the class, you choose what you want to write about, and I try to help you make it better, working in the wiki where other students can discuss, consider, and suggest, so that everyone gets the value of everyone's thinking. Under ArchivedMaterial, you can find all the writing past students have published; in their "History" you can see how I commented on that writing, how other students contributed to the rewriting process, and how peoples' writing improved. Find the work from the last two years written by students you know, and ask them about the course. Read the EvaluationPolicy, so you know how I approach the ridiculous and apparently important issue of grading. If you have questions, email me at

I hope to see you soon.

-- EbenMoglen - 25 Oct 2017

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r1 - 25 Oct 2017 - 14:39:25 - EbenMoglen
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