The Habitualization of Law Students by External Instructors

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Previous studies and anecdotal evidence from employer panels suggest that the habitus of Danish law graduates is, to a decisive degree, characterized by thinking too rigidly within the framework of doctrinal legal analysis, excluding more synthetic, solution-oriented approaches to professional problems they encounter. Previous studies have established that, apart from family background, legal education is one of the major areas in which this habitus is constructed. Because the influence that teaching practitioners have on student values has been recognized in research, the present study interprets the data collected from a survey of 491 external instructors at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, to establish the degree to which students are habitualized for practice. The empirically-based results indicate that instructors transmit their values as practitioners, but do not in full congruence teach students to practice relevant competencies. The reason for this partial habitualization lies in the perception of legal academia as a profoundly different social arena than legal practice: as arena of “pure” dogmatic thinking, which prevents external instructors from including their own practical competencies in the learning process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalRetfærd: Nordisk Juridisk Tidsskrift
Issue number2 & 3
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 229280865