The Place of Perspective in the Law and Legal Education

John O. Mudd, The Place of Perspective in the Law and Legal Education, 26 Gonz. L. Rev 277 (1990)

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In recent years American lawyers and the education they receive have come under intense scrutiny and criticism.’ Whether lasting change will result from this concern and rhetoric remains to be seen. A frequently proposed direction for change calls for combining the teaching of traditional legal subjects with instruction in the skills needed to perform as a lawyer. To make progress in this direction it is important to have a clear picture of the elements of effective lawyer performance and how they relate to each other.

This essay attempts a step in that direction by examining a particular dimension of lawyering that has thus far received little attention. Among the many abilities needed to practice law is the capacity to view legal problems within a frame of reference; to be able to describe matters, not just in legal terms, but also taking account of the many non-legal factors that bear upon them. The resulting set of understandings through which lawyers grasp the larger meaning of a legal problem, position or fix it within the context of forces relevant to its solution, and accurately assess the impact of their own activity on the problem is what I have called “perspective.”… Read More

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