Chapter 15: Ambition and reality: Reforms of legal studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen
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The aim of this article is to present our investigation of the recent attempt to reform legal education at the Faculty of Law in Copenhagen (as from 2011 to the present). We view the Copenhagen reform efforts as a local instance of the worldwide trend of legal education in flux. Although the article takes its point of departure in recent events, we include more than one hundred years of legal reform efforts as regards legal education in Denmark. We do so in order to place the most recent reform in a historical context. Based on qualitative and quantitative approaches, our analysis combines a topical analysis of the argumentation used in the discourse community of educational reformers at the Faculty of Law with a critical policy analysis of ‘the need for change’ expressed throughout one hundred years of reforms. The topical analysis pinpoints how lawyers and legal academics think in terms of the oppositional pair ‘qualities and defects’ of legal education and the legal profession. The critical policy analysis further sets the topical analysis within a broader framework that allows us to answer the question why legal education was and still is debated in very specific consistent ways. This approach highlights how demands for ‘change’ also seem to stem from a fundamental schism in legal thinking that paradoxically lives on , not in spite of but by virtue of the many attempts at reforming legal education.

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