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The legal education, often considered a form of preparation for the law practice, has been there since the ancient times. Nevertheless, the introduction of university-based law education between the 18th and 19th centuries has brought about several challenges, as far as the reconciliation of aims of teaching law is concerned.

A majority of the law schools are working hard to establish a suitable ground away from acting as trade schools or even a stronghold for mere theory. Such focus is necessary for ensuring the usefulness of the education in solving daily legal problems. This article offers a brief overview of the legal education with reference to the traditional and modern approach to gaining a legal education.

Ancient legal education

In the ancient times, the focus of the law schools was to offer training that would prepare the individuals for an advocate career, though the rhetoric did not follow any systematic approach to the law. Tiberius Coruncanius was the first individual to offer legal instruction to the public, which led to the emergence of a jurisprudence’ class. The requirement for any law student was to read law books after which, they sought attachment to jurisprudence for further learning. Here, the main source of knowledge would be the master and hence, the student had to consult a few aspects of law occasionally. With time, the jurisprudence became teachers of the law.

The common types of law taught during the ancient time included the Roman law and the canon law. The customary or the local legal system was not given much focus based on the understanding that it was parochial and did not fit university treatment.  The majority of universities in the European countries started teaching national laws in the 18th century. Later, the focus shifted to the university-based legal education, setting precedence for the type of legal education common during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Modern status of the legal education

Most countries in the world now use the legal education model that started in the U.S., where university-based instruction in law is a profession as opposed to just being an academic discipline. The job market is increasingly becoming competitive; this condition is making it hard for fresh law graduates to land well-paying jobs, or even advance in their careers due to the limited opportunities for growth. Traditionally, having passed the bar as well as having a qualification from any law institution was enough assurance that you will get a job. In the modern days, specializing and further studies seem to be the only way one can get a better job and career in law. As it is, a Master of Laws (LLM) is considerably one of the great pathways to a better career.


As evident, it took more than just learning the theories of law for one to practice law. The same thing applies to the modern days. While the majority of the people have a feeling that their first degree is enough for them, there is every reason to pursue a master’s degree especially to grow your network and enhance your competitiveness while at the same time raising your earning potential.