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The Green Bag

fifty minutes class may range over twenty pages or more of the case-book. The professor, on taking his seat, calls on some member of the class by name to give an account of a case, and care is taken by the instructor that the state ment shall be of such a kind, and in such a form, as shall in the clearest manner exhibit its ratio decidendi. This, in itself, is admirable practice. The statement is followed by close examination of any questions left undecided or suggested by dicta, by comparison with other cases, and often by criticism; these last fea tures are facilitated, of course, by the frequent divergence of state jurisdictions. The professor does not hesitate to press the students hard, and it was very interesting to notice the different manners of both professors and students at this stage. Some men, whom I thought to be rather severe, were, I was told, among the most successful teachers; certainly students responded con amore in some instances. Sometimes the pro fessor will heckle a single student for ten minutes or more before he passes on to some one else." Professor Moore speaks of the classes he saw as very large; he remembers none with less than a hundred members or so. In these classes "only a very small proportion can actively take part in the discussion during the allotted fifty minutes. Moreover, I found that the same students appeared prominent in several different classes, and I learned that in practice there was a tendency for the discussion to fall into the hands of the professor and a comparatively small number of members of the class." A system of this sort obviously has its merits: "The student studies his law from the outset as he will have to study it for purposes of argument in court. He acquires familiarity with legal method, and with the process of legal

development; he gains great facility in the use of his materials; he gains confidence, a critical habit of mind, and independence of thought; and his studies are carried on in the stimulating way of contest with his fellows and his instructor." As to the objection that the value of the system is impaired by the relatively small number who took part in the discussion, "one was told that, at any rate, the men who took part in the discussion got the benefit of it, and that those who did not had the advantage of hearing it, and were cer tainly no worse off than if they had had the law expounded by a lecturer with out discussion. Certainly the demeanor of a large class indicated close atten tion — there was no appearance of listlessness or boredom in the audience." Against these merits, must, however, be set certain disadvantages. "The dis cussion must often leave a large number of members of the class in a good deal of doubt as to what really is settled in the law. I have already remarked on the tendency of the discussion to fall into the hands of the abler men in the class; and a very little experience and reflection shows that this must be so. Discussion which would demonstrate everything to the duller intelligence would be hardly tolerated by the keener intellects, and would require an immense amount of time. In many respects the system recalls tutorial tuition, with the relation between an Oxford tutor and his best men, and just in so far as it does this it makes one doubtful of its aptitude, or at any rate sufficiency, for class work, except amongst selected men. The discussion soon reaches difficult and doubtful problems; and when the subject was one with which I was not familiar I several times left the room without a clear notion of what was settled law in the matter. Of course,