Expanding Curriculum: Part 3

Part 3: The effects of World War II

The coming of World War II triggered another - though minor - reevaluation of the curriculum. It was spurred by the fact that faculty members - their ranks decreased by the war - were being forced to teach courses they had never taught before. Naturally, they raised questions about subject matter and new approaches. It was also evident to the administration that new courses might be required to address the circumstances of the post-war world. Introduced at this juncture was Legal Method (replacing Legislation), which attempted to solve the problem of how best to plunge neophyte 1Ls into the ocean of law. Also reconstituted was Prof. Goebel's Development of Legal Institutions to include more emphasis on American law. Professor Karl Llewellyn created two new courses: Commercial Law, which displaced a course called Sales, focused on substantive law, legal techniques, and the Uniform Commercial Code; and Law and Society, an intense course (requiring a biweekly paper and heavy reading) on a variety of issues facing young lawyers in America.

Karl Llewellyn

Attempts to modify the first-year curriculum in the 1960s and '70s met with little success. What changed, however, was the great number of new courses added to the upper class curriculum. By and large, they reflected the challenges facing society in those decades. Between 1940-41 and 1970-71, upper class offerings increased from 32 to 78 courses and seminars. Additions included Environmental Litigation, Gender Discrimination and the Law, Intellectual Property, White-Collar Crime, Atomic Energy and Space, American Slavery and the Law, and Law for the Poor in an Affluent Society. The reach of the law continued to grow.