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The Inception of Modern Professional EducationC. C. Langdell, 1826-1906$
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Bruce A. Kimball

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832578

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889961_kimball

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Triumph and Betrayal, 1886–1890s

Triumph and Betrayal, 1886–1890s

(p.264) Chapter 8 Triumph and Betrayal, 1886–1890s
The Inception of Modern Professional Education

Bruce A. Kimball

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes how “the Langdell system of study had not been adopted in any other law school.” Then, during the late 1880s, Harvard Law School (HLS) began surpassing even the most optimistic hopes of raising academic standards, attracting growing numbers of well-qualified students and producing well-trained graduates desired by leading firms. By 1895, when Langdell retired as dean, his system had triumphed, as ambitious, serious students crowded into HLS and as law schools at other universities began to adopt the model. Simultaneously, however, the leading meritocrats betrayed the HLS system by violating their own academic standards. Despite its universalist principle, the practice of educational formalism was “gravely unjust,” because the meritocrats explicitly categorized certain people apart from the rest of the applicants and then treated those categories invidiously as a matter of policy.

Keywords:   Langdell system, Harvard Law School, academic standards, meritocrats, HLS system, universalist principle, educational formalism

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