The Dissonance Between Law School Academics And Practitioners - The Why The How The Where To Now

  • M Weir


Any survey of the literature on legal education will soon reveal the depth of the divide which separates legal academics and legal practitioners. This division has been described as "the most significant division within the profession and surpassing the division between barristers and solicitors." This perception can be based also on my experiences in both worlds as a solicitor for ten years and more recently as an academic. My former occupation will be reflected somewhat in this article as my view of practitioners will focus especially on the views and experiences of solicitors but not to the exclusion of barristers. This discussion does not assume that both sides of this divide are homogenous seamless monoliths. Amongst law schools you will witness considerable variety in orientation, from law schools that have an outlook which is substantially theoretical, to law schools whose outlook emphasise practical concerns and professional issues. Diversity exists in regard to many matters but includes diversity in teaching methods, status, student profiles and class sizes. Legal academics themselves have been categorised as falling into a number of types demonstrating a diversity in approach including categories such as traditional legal scholar, practitioner scholar and activist. Within the body of legal practitioners there is also considerable diversity in approach and orientation between large, medium, small and boutique firms, city and country firms, barristers and solicitors. It would seem that the tension between both sides of the divide may differ depending on which category is being considered but generally, despite this diversity, a divide does exist and my intention in this article is to identify major factors contributing to this gulf. My discussion will traverse four spheres of influence: Historical, Sociological, Psychological and Experimental. On occasions some of those categories will overlap as is the nature of human endeavour. This article will also include a discussion of the means by which the divide can be overcome so as to create an atmosphere where the profession and academics can relate in a manner that encourages a cross pollination of ideas and knowledge to the benefit of all 'lawyers".
Oct 30, 1993
How to Cite
WEIR, M. The Dissonance Between Law School Academics And Practitioners - The Why The How The Where To Now. QUT Law Review, [S.l.], v. 9, p. 143-158, oct. 1993. ISSN 2201-7275. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 feb. 2021. doi:
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