Christopher Columbus Langdell

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Langdell, Christopher Columbus

(lăng`dəl), 1826–1906, American teacher of law, b. New Boston, N.H. He practiced in New York City from 1854 to 1870, when he was appointed Dane professor of law at Harvard; in 1875 he became dean of Harvard law school. Together with J. B. AmesAmes, James Barr,
1846–1910, American jurist, b. Boston, grad. Harvard Law School, 1873. At Harvard he became associate professor (1873), professor (1877), and dean (1895). A disciple of C. C.
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, who succeeded him as dean in 1895, he revised the curriculum of the school. Langdell is especially famed for the introduction of the "case method" in the study of law. In his view the principles of law are best learned by inductive study of the actual legal situations (the cases) in which they occur. Much opposition was expressed by conservative teachers who believed that an abstract formulation of the law was the essential need of the student. Langdell's theory was first adopted at Harvard, then at Columbia law school, and in time gained almost universal acceptance. Langdell prepared casebooks in the fields of contracts, equity, and sales.
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Three years after our Law School's founding in 1867, Christopher Langdell first introduced case studies and the Socratic method to Harvard Law School, replacing lectures and textbook recitation.
62) The publication of final examinations is another law school policy innovation introduced by Christopher Langdell that has been frequently overlooked, but remains relevant in most law schools today.
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