Roger C. Cramton, Beyond the Ordinary Religion, 37 J. Legal Educ. 509 (1987).
Dean Cramton believes that “larger normative questions” must be place on the law school teaching agenda, because “a university law school has a broader function than a cooking institute, a barber college, or some other trade oriented technical school.” Cramton begins by stating his goal in his The Ordinary Religion of the Law School Classroom:
My thesis was that ‘[t]he essential ingredients of the ordinary religion of the American law school classroom are: a skeptical attitude toward generalizations; an instrumental approach to law and lawyering; a ‘toughminded’ and analytical attitude toward legal tasks and professional roles; and a faith that man, by the application of reason and the use of democratic processes, can make the world a better place.’ . . . My earlier article on ‘ordinary religion’ is a critique of what I believe to be the implicit value system of legal education and American lawyering. Only by implication does the paper address the more constructive questions: What values should one presuppose in teaching, studying, or practicing law? To what extent, and how, should one’s basic value commitments be articulated and discussed?
He goes on to articulate those values and commitments, concluding, in part:
I believe that a sense of calling is essential for law teachers and students. The search for truth, with all that implies concerning the meaningfulness of objective reality and the importance of the procedures by which we attempt to describe and talk about it, is a central commitment of the legal scholar. Is there not also a commitment, both for the law teacher and student, to search for the good? A renewed understanding of what it means to be a professional should include a commitment to something other than acquisition and success. If so, law schools have an educational responsibility to deal with the larger normative issues that infuse the application and use of legal technique.