Document Type



UCLA Law Review Discourse




Professor Jay Silver’s criticism of the reform proposals put forward in Brian Tamanaha’s book Failing Law Schools displays some characteristic weaknesses of American legal academic culture. These weaknesses include a tendency to make bold assertions about the value of legal scholarship and the effectiveness of law school pedagogy, while at the same time providing no support for these assertions beyond a willingness to repeat self-congratulatory platitudes about who professors are and what we do. The high costs for our students of the current scholarly expectations at American law schools are clear. What is not clear is whether those costs are worth incurring. Simply asserting that they are because the typical publications of American law faculty supposedly provide valuable critiques of the legal system that have a beneficial effect on the system’s operation does not constitute an argument. Likewise, neither do similarly ungrounded assertions that traditional law school pedagogy teaches law students how to think.