Law Teaching for Sale: Legal Shadow Education in Denmark from Historical and Current Perspectives

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This study examines the use of supplementary private teaching (‘shadow
education’) within the field of legal education in Denmark from historical and
current perspectives. The aim is to estimate the extent of this phenomenon in a
Danish context and understand why law students chose to pay for private
teaching services. The study documents that practices presently labelled as
shadow education are as old as the University of Copenhagen (1479) and the
formal legal education (1736). During a period of around 150 years (1780-
1930), the exam-oriented private teaching (manuduction) was, in fact, the
backbone of legal education. Sources show that the poor state of the university
education, including archaic teaching methods, was the primary reason for this:
private teaching was the market’s solution to a broken public education.
Educational reforms during the first half of the 20th century challenged the
raison d'être of the private manuduction industry, and the Danish welfare state
provided the fatal blow in 1960: free university manuduction. However, the
private teaching industry was resurrected in the 21st century in a more
corporate, professional, and aggressive form. The study indicates that currently
around 60 percent of law students have paid for private teaching services during
their legal education. Moreover, the study shows that it is no longer the quality
of university teaching that is the main catalyst, but rather the appeal of very
exam-oriented courses and the students’ insecurities, especially the first-years.
The study links this development to the emergence of the competition state.
Finally, the study recommends that the findings are taken into account in future
reform endeavours and suggests directions for further research into shadow
education in law, including through comparative analysis.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Legal Education
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)71-105
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - 2023

ID: 328898976