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Cases & Materials Texts and the Law

Here’s question that has both a serious and humorous side, and one which connects with our earlier discussions about teaching law students to “think like lawyers” and better preparing those of them who want to practice for the “real” practitioner’s world.

It also connects to a the question of close to “real time” should law school materials be when the law is in a significant amount of flux. 

What happens when the law in a particular subject (let’s say a private law subject so we’ve the prospect of provincial variations), at a particular time in the jurisdiction where the law school is, deviates significantly from what the law “ought to be” if it made sense. How much can the cases and materials text ignore the state of the law as it is? Or, are those assembling the materials – bearing in mind that case law changes (even appellate law) – entitled to limit the core material to that which qualifies as “intellectually engaging or lucidly forumulated” and hand out extra materials under the heading “but, for you planning to practise in X, be aware that the law currently in X is …)

It’s not quite the light-hearted question it seems to be, especially for you folk in the big firms who more and more are taking your associates out of your summer students. You may just have to be more careful, if you aren’t already, about what your still-students tell your newest associates the current law is, according to their professors.