Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Purcell on the Value of Legal History for Legal Education

Many of us law professors have already received "Paradoxes of Court-Centered Legal History: Some Values of Historical Understanding for a Practical Legal Education," Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School, in the Journal of Legal Education 64 (November 2014): 229-57.  Now everyone can download it here.  Professor Purcell takes up “the pressing contemporary educational questions: Does legal history contribute to a full, sound, and truly practical legal education?  If so, how?”  He answers it “by considering in greater detail what we can learn from but one of its many diverse sub-fields,” “court-centered legal history,” which “focuses on courts, judges, judge-made law, and the processes of judicial decision-making.”  His approach is to pursue various manifestation of the paradoxical nature of legal history: which “lies in the fact that for law and the judicial process it is both acutely subversive and profoundly supportive.”