Reforming the Legal Profession through Faith-Based Service Learning for Law Students: Notre Dame's 'Just Communities' Project

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2009


Major curricular reform is long overdue at many American law schools, and the current economic crisis presents a unique opportunity for change. This article argues for a greater emphasis on service learning in the law school curriculum so that students can acquire a wider range of practical skills essential to lawyers and gain a deeper sense of engagement with issues of justice. At Notre Dame’s London Law Centre, the “Just Communities” project offers a compelling example of how this can be accomplished. Through participation in faith-based community organizing, law students not only gain valuable skills essential to the lawyer’s craft, but they also become much more intimately aware of the lives of people who often live at the margins of society. These encounters often provide students with some of their most powerful examples of the law’s power as a tool for the promotion of human dignity.


Published by Taylor & Francis; also available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2202/1940-1639.1439.