Legal Research, the Law Schools and the Profession




Webber, Jeremy

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Sydney Law Review


This paper addresses the gulf that is said to exist between the law schools and the profession in legal research. It examines the causes and extent of the divide. It argues that some measure of divergence is appropriate, for the mission of the law schools is substantially different from that of the profession. The law schools speak to a broader range of legal phenomena and a more extensive professional and non-professional audience. They must take a critical approach to law and law reform. They have an obligation to explore not only the requirements of legal practice, but also the intersections between law and other social phenomena, and law’s relationship to philosophical arguments. The law schools are therefore best conceived as a parallel branch of the profession, with their own standards of excellence and their own purposes. Interaction between academia and the profession is an indispensable source of insight for both, but in this interaction the law schools must remain true to their distinctive role, a role that only they can fulfil.




Webber, J. (2004). Legal research, the law schools and the profession. Sydney Law Review, 26, 565-586.