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From the introduction:

Law schools have a clear mission, one would think. Even if the American Bar Association did not insist upon it, any given law school would acknowledge its commitment to “prepare its students for ad-mission to the bar, and effective and responsible participation in the legal profession.” In return for a substantial contribution of (usually borrowed) money, law schools promise to train students to practice law as competent, thoughtful, and faithful fiduciaries for their clients and to seek a just and fair system.

Though law schools’ collective mission is apparent, the question of how best to implement that mission has perplexed the legal academy for decades and continues to do so. How might law schools best train their students to practice effectively? After an early period where lawyers developed skills through an apprenticeship experience, law schools attempted to teach law as a social science using appellate cases as its data, following the leadership of Christopher Columbus Langdell. The aim was to train law students rigorously to “think like lawyers,” and especially to develop the analytic tools necessary to work expertly with law’s complexity.