When Eoin O’Dell was free to publish his blog “cearta”, one of his perennial topics was that of legal education. He was notable for this; he was writing in a desert.
There is probably no perfect or ideal education for a lawyer. In fact, we may need more than one type of person to deliver legal services to the nation and that implies more than one type of education.
There is a strong case for having the lawyer-to-be well grounded in history. When we, collectively, make errors it is important that we not forget those errors. If we think of the legal profession as a larger version of a “University Challenge” team, we would like to have someone numerate on the panel; someone articulate or artistic; someone with “the common touch” (i.e, follows football or understands Bertie Ahern’s speech etc.).
This approach has some promise in another area; when the lawyer wants to quit the profession and become a judge, what tests should we apply to the candidates?
We should give up testing them on their “knowledge”; instead we need to test their beliefs. A tiny beginning would be to spring a test wherein they have to define, without reference to a dictionary or the internet, certain words.
Here is my initial, inadequate, collection of suggested words: jingoism; appraise; refute; cabal; chauvinism; party; conspiracy; public; republic; apology; economical; military; intelligence; meaning; insolent.