Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America

with Walter Olson

Harold Koh, former Dean of the Yale Law School and current legal adviser to the Department of State, annually exhorted entering Yale Law students with the phrase, “Welcome, to the Republic of Conscience.” Walter Olson, Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, argues in his new book Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America, that the “Republic of Conscience” Koh believes in is best understood as an ideological educational entity that teaches an unconstrained understanding of the power of law and government. This revolution in legal pedagogy has mightily contributed to the numerous changes that have swept self-governing institutions, Olson argues. American legal education has not for some time understood its mission to be the mere preparation of future lawyers. Instead, primary stock has been placed in inculcating the notion that law and litigation are primary opportunities to advocate for social change according to progressive ideals.