Legal education is rarely treated as the subject of empirical research within the jurisprudence. However, in the law studies assessment two perspectives may be distinguished: official and critical. In official documents these studies are presented as requiring involvement and developing. However, scientific literature shows a different picture. These studies are described as “boring” or “disciplining”. Research conducted in 2016 by the CLEST Research Team on Legal Education shows that students’ assessment is close to the critical one. Under the research one verified the law students’ profile, motivation for starting the studies, plans for the future and assessment of the studies themselves.
Future career constitutes the motivation for starting the studies. The majority of students has a plan for their working life and wants to work in the legal profession as a judge, attorney, legal counsel, notary public or bailiff. Thus, the studies are necessary for obtaining a relevant license. Then,
the studies are perceived as an opportunity for knowledge acquisition and self-development. They are not perceived as an autonomous social zone, where social contacts are formed. Students assess the studies themselves critically. They are too theoretical and do not provide with good preparation for the legal profession. They require a lot of studying, but at the same time exams do not verify knowledge or skills.
Legal education seems to be “tiresome necessity”. The studies’ monotony results in fatigue and exhaustion. Knowledge is perceived as strange and necessary only for passing another exam. The willingness to obtain a professional license explains why students do not resign from the studies and continue them despite such a critical assessment. Such an educational process does not promote the attitude of active citizen who feels responsible for law. Thus, such a picture is opposite to official declarations.
Representatives of legal communities of attorneys, legal counsels, judges and representatives of WPAE were asked to comment on the research results. Below you may find the received comments.
Publication co-financed by the National Science Centre, Poland, research project No. 2015/17/N/HS5/00733