Chicago Lawyer Magazine Lauds UChicagoLaw's Commitment to Interdisciplinary Education

School believes in interdisciplinary education
Danielle Feinstein
Chicago Lawyer
August 30, 2010

The University of Chicago Law School has offered interdisciplinary courses and programs since founding the John M. Olin Program in law and economics more than 50 years ago.

From the program's inception, the law school instituted interdisciplinary programs in the areas of philosophy, history, international law and literature.

Dean Michael H. Schill, appointed to the law school this year from his position as dean of the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, said the interdisciplinary programs originated from a difference of opinion between a political science professor and the school's first dean, Joseph Henry Beale.

Beale was sent from Harvard Law School and favored the doctrinal education practiced at Harvard, Schill said. Beale's attempts were antagonistic to those of political science professor, Ernst Freund, and his desire for a scholarly focus on jurisprudence in the law school.

Schill marked the moment when the law school became a school of interdisciplinary programs as Beale's return to Harvard after his two-year term had concluded, and Freund's endurance and consequential solidification of jurisprudence.

One of Schill's primary objectives for the law school is to enhance the interdisciplinary programs.

In comparison to traditional ways of studying law, Schill said, society today is becoming "extraordinarily complicated and specialized. In order to have true insight into different substantive areas, you have to know the underlying disciplines."

Michael H. Schill
Alison LaCroix
Laura Weinrib
Martha Nussbaum
Brian Leiter
Richard A. Posner
David A. Strauss