Likely Lessons in Unlikely Places: Comparative Review of Legal Education Policy between the United States and East Germany

April M. Hathcock, University of South Carolina - Columbia

Originally published in Peking University Transnational Law Review, 2014.


Legal education in the United States is in a period of crisis. Everyone involved, from legal educators to law students to current practitioners, has engaged in intense discussion about the various forms this reform could take, but little has been actually implemented. There has, however, been a general leaning toward creating a legal education policy that possesses a more comprehensive and balanced practical focus. In this vein, legal education policy makers have been looking to other countries and even other disciplines for ideas on how to build a better legal education system in the U.S. With this in mind, being open to finding lessons in the unlikeliest of places, this article looks to the legal education policy in East Germany and the lessons that today’s American legal education policymakers can learn from it with a particular emphasis on post-curricular focus and the balance between theory and practice.