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Brazilian Legal Education; Curricular changes; legal education


Brazilian legal education is engaged since 1994 in a long and inconclusive process of curriculum reform in which the Brazilian Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil) has been one of its greatest players. The transformations undertaken in legal education in the last two decades, were buoyed by three things: (a) the redemocratization of the country, completed in 1988 with the promulgation of the new Constitution, (b) the expansion of higher education, which resulted in a amount of more than half of a million law students, and (c) the protection of interests of the lawyers’ corporation, even though it has been done under the argument of a genuine defense of a minimum level of quality for the Brazilian legal education. Interestingly, all this reform process is done without any trace of dialogue with the Bologna process and rarely integrating the challenges of a legal practice increasingly internationalized. This article proposes a critical review of the incomplete process of legal education reform, seeking to understand how, despite its original purposes, it has been imprisoned on the one hand, by the corporate share of the Brazilian Bar Association and on the other hand, by the reproduction of old practices in the teaching of Brazilian law. Finally, between the reproduction of the past and the uncertainty of the future, Brazilian legal education is facing a broad challenge that goes beyond the definition of its curriculum structure. In short, rethink the foundations of its access, the parameters of its offer and the importance of its social impact is undoubtedly a necessity to adequately speculate about the future of Brazilian legal education.