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A Great and Noble Occupation!'

The History of the Society of Legal Scholars

By: Fiona Cownie, Raymond Cocks
Media of A Great and Noble Occupation!'
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Published: 03-09-2009
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 330
ISBN: 9781847315397
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £40.50
Online price : £32.40
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About A Great and Noble Occupation!'

The Society of Legal Scholars, originally the Society of Public Teachers of Law, was created in 1909, but was fortunate to survive its first half century. It had few members, lacked financial resources and was weak in influence. In comparison with other university disciplines Law enjoyed a fragile status, and was often held in low esteem by barristers and solicitors. At times the SPTL was caught up in problems of its own making, for instance refusing to admit women until the late 1940s. But there were also moments of excitement and achievement: the years between 1909 and the start of WWI were full of hope and new ideas and the establishment of the Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law in the 1920s was an important achievement for legal scholars.

During the social revolution of the 1960s the SPTL continued to function as a rather sedate gentleman's club, gathering at its annual conference to socialise, rather than to engage in academic debate. The 1970s saw a sustained drive from its Young Members' Group to create a new, more serious organisation, with better conferences and more effective decision-making processes. The Society evolved slowly, but the process accelerated in the 1990s, with members encouraged to reinforce their intellectual contribution to the discipline and act as a central point for policy debate within the legal academic community. As we stand at the beginning of the twenty first century, the Society, with nearly 3,000 members, has come a long way from its small beginnings.

Table Of Contents

1 New Questions Affecting the Teaching of Law: 1908–1909
2 Hope Followed by Dismay: 1910–1918
3 Defiance and Debate: 1919–1930
4 Research, Dissent and the Possible Admission of Women: 1930–1939
5 War, Respectability, the Admission of Women, Legal Education with 'Vituperative Epithets' and Increasing Self-confidence: 1940–1960
6 The First Fifty Years: A Summary
7 The Swinging Sixties
8 The 1970s: Reform Begins
9 The 1980s: A Difficult Decade
10 The 1990s: A Decade of Change
11 The New Millennium: 2000 and Beyond


“…we should certainly congratulate Fiona Cownie and Ray Cocks for producing their fine history of the Society.” –  Roger Brownsword, Legal Studies, Volume 30, No. 1

“The author's hope that this book will be a substantial contribution to the history of legal education in the United Kingdom is fully justified.” –  William Twining, Journal of Law and Society , Volume 37, Number 3

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