Way ahead of the current chorus of critique of American legal education, Derrick Bell was a fierce, but lucid and incisive, critic of every aspect of American legal education, from law professors’ inadequacies, to the repetitive passivity of the law school classroom, to the financial exploitation of students, to the negative consequences of the tenure system. Dean Bell did not merely voice these concerns, he creatively structured his own courses to make them more relevant, effective, and student-centered. The author’s chance encounter with Dean Bell’s 1982 article, The Law Student as Slave, which presaged later calls for wholesale reform of legal education like the Carnegie Report, was transformative.
Vanessa Merton, How Derrick Bell Helped Me Decide to Become an Educator, Not Just a Faculty Member, 2 Colum. J. Race & L. Spec. Feat. 34 (2012), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/960/.