Law As Professional Field(s): Legal Education Between Narrow-Mindedness and Arbitrariness

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Tobias EULE, University of Bern, Switzerland
"Law" as subject of tertiary education is increasingly a stepping stone for multiple types of careers beyond legal practice. In Switzerland, two thirds of law graduates find work outside chambers and judiciary. However, most law faculties still treat their students as attourneys-in-training, and do not offer insights into the more common forms of working in, with, or after law. This paper is based on focus group interviews with employers, practitioners, academics and students on diverging perspectives on legal professions and the challenge this poses to law as university subject. It argues that while there is an urgent need to provide students with a more realistic perspective of their possible futures, "legal education" works as stepping stone exactly because graduates are seen to have "classical" legalistic competences. While they might not ever work as solicitors, a key hiring quality seems to be their qualification as "as-if-lawyers". Legal education, then, must find a way to incorporate both classical professional training and a realistic preparation for the multiple fields of "law work".