The French Legal Studies Curriculum: Its History and Relevance as a Model for Reform

01 Jan 1980

This article attempts to describe and analyze those events which fostered the historical metamorphosis of the French legal studies curriculum. The predominance of a broad academic approach to law and the concomitant absence of a narrow "trade school" mentality in the French law schools might be attributed to the general organization of higher education in France. One of the primary contentions of this article is that the fundamental character of French legal education, which emphasizes the educating of jurists as opposed to the training of lawyers, is the product of a set of factors which are deeply rooted in French history and are part of the basic intellectual assumptions of French culture. It is the basic thesis of this paper that the French legal studies program provides a model for the long-overdue reform of North American legal education.