Legal education in crisis: healing and humanizing Canadian law schools /
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Western law schools are suffering from an identity and moral crisis. Many of the legal profession's problems can be traced to the law school environment, where students are taught to reason and practice in ways that are often at odds with their own personalities and values and even with generally accepted psychologically healthy practices. The idealism, ethic of care, and personal moral compasses of many students become eroded and even lost in the present legal education system. Formalism, rationalism, elitism, and big business values have become paramount. In such a moment of historical crisis, there exists the opportunity to create a new legal education story. This paper is a conceptual study of both my own Canadian legal education and the general legal education experience. It examines core problems and critiques of the existing Western legal education organizational and pedagogical paradigm to which Canadian law schools adhere. New approaches with the potential to enrich, humanize, and heal the Canadian law school experience are explored. Ultimately, the paper proposes a legal education system that is more interdisciplinary, theoretically and practically integrated, emotionally intelligent, technologically connected, morally accountable, spiritual, and humane. Specific pedagogical and curricular strategies are suggested, and recommendations for the future are offered. The dehumanizing aspects of the law school experience in Canada have rarely been studied. It is hoped that this thesis will fill a gap in the research and provide some insight into an issue that is of both academic and public importance, since the well-being of law students and lawyers affects the interests of their clients, the general public, and the integrity and future of the entire legal system.