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Curricular changes; legal education; Mexican Legal Education


This article focuses on exploring the diversity of ways future students are exposed to law, as well as the multiple reasons that make the profession and degree attractive for them. It is based on the question “what experience or specific situation led to your interest in studying law?” that we asked almost 22,000 Mexican law students around the country at the beginning of the 2004-2005 academic year. This analysis is important because current efforts to transform legal education tend to consider only international components to incorporate into the law programs. But these reforms should also consider the regional or local needs of the participants of legal education which until now have not been taken into account. For example, as we describe in this article, one of five Mexican law students chose to study law because they or their relatives had been victims of violations to their rights, or as a result of perceiving their environment as marked by injustice, corruption and impunity. Law for them was a way to do something about it or, at least, be able to protect themselves and their families. This is a reality shared not only by other Latin American countries, but probably by most developing countries. Any reform to legal education should explore ways to incorporate the students’ ideas, interests and experiences into their studies not only to improve the program, but also to stimulate the students and increase their motivation.