November 13, 2011
Fostering humility
Posted by Erik Gerding

Adding to Peter's posts about law schools cultivating the emotional skills of law students, perhaps we should add humility to the list.  Ross Douthat penned a compelling and unsettling column in the New York Times last week that used Jon Corzine as tragic figure to talk about the failings of our larger meritocratic enterprise.  He writes:

In meritocracies, though, it’s the very intelligence of our leaders that creates the worst disasters. Convinced that their own skills are equal to any task or challenge, meritocrats take risks that lower-wattage elites would never even contemplate, embark on more hubristic projects, and become infatuated with statistical models that hold out the promise of a perfectly rational and frictionless world.

Hubris is in great supply at law schools, elite and otherwise, and on law faculties too.  Can one be both ambitious and humble?  Can law schools both inspire to dream large dreams -- personal and social -- while still warning about our own fallibility and the limitations of law?  



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