In “Where’s the Proof?” , Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice addresses the disturbing trend among U.S. law schools in no longer making Evidence courses a compulsory part of the law school curriculum. Greenfield posits,
Is this really the limited understanding that new lawyers have of their profession? Can they possible think so small and grasp so little?
The teaching of evidence in law school is not in anticipation of someone being a litigator. Granted, it is absolutely required for a litigator, and especially for a trial lawyer, but that’s not where it ends. Knowledge and understanding of evidence is a core competency for every niche (read that clearly, every niche) in the practice of law. Yes, M&A. Even real estate closings and wills. Multinational contracts. You name it, you still need to know evidence. Why? Because every aspect of law entails a potential of dispute leading to litigation. Any lawyer who doesn’t comprehend evidence cannot competently perform his function.
If nothing else, the concepts of relevance and materiality are basic to thinking like a lawyer. If you don’t get them, you can’t think. You can’t reason. You can’t understand things the way a lawyer must.
The Canadian law school experience is disturbingly similar. (more…)