The Oak Brook College Vision
|The Oak Brook College Vision|
|A Biblical Worldview|
|Emphasis on Practical Experience|
|Utilization of Technology|
|Motives for Legal Study|
Founded in 1994, Oak Brook College has adopted an approach to legal education that is different both in form and in substance from traditional law schools. This approach is not motivated by a desire to create something new simply for the sake of change; it is in response to concerns about the integrity of the legal profession and to the opportunities provided by the new technology that has revolutionized educational methodology.
In his book The Betrayed Profession, attorney Sol Linowitz highlights, with a few disturbing statistics, the fact that dissatisfaction with attorney professionalism and character is not limited to those outside the profession.
The American Bar Association's Commission on Professionalism reported in 1986 that only 6 percent of corporations rated "all or most" lawyers as deserving to be called "professionals." Only 7 percent thought professionalism was increasing among lawyers, and 68 percent thought it was decreasing. No fewer than 55 percent of the nation's state and federal judges responded to a similar questionnaire with the view that lawyer professionalism was in decline. A 1993 poll by the National Law Journal found that almost a third of Americans thought lawyers were "less honest than most people."1
Any lasting improvements in the legal profession depend upon the character of the individuals entering the profession. In a recent report adopted by the Conference of Chief Justices, the state Supreme Courts emphasized the fact that good character and professionalism must be developed on an individual basis.
Professionalism ultimately is a personal, not an institutional, characteristic. Lawyers either demonstrate this characteristic or they do not. No disciplinary system can enforce professionalism and no amount of exhortation by judges and bar leaders can instill it where it does not already exist. . . . The institutional framework of the legal community can create a climate in which professionalism can flourish, but individual lawyers must be the ones to cultivate this characteristic in themselves.2
A required one-semester Professional Responsibility course is not sufficient to instill high ethical standards in a law student; nor do the antagonistic and adversarial teaching techniques used in many law school classrooms produce caring legal professionals. Indeed, there seems to be an indication that traditional legal education accentuates, rather than cures, negative personality traits and deficient relationship skills in law students.
Spouses of entering law students are given psychological counseling at many law schools to warn them that their husbands or wives are about to change, to become incredibly absorbed in the mountains of work they must accomplish, more assertive in family disputes, and more sensitive to little annoyances they would have once brushed off. These personality changes are not good for their home life, and are often not good for their future relations with clients, either.3
With these concerns in mind, Oak Brook College of Law was founded in 1994. It is the high aspiration of the College to provide highly motivated and disciplined individuals with an innovative alternative to the traditional model of legal education. In addition, Oak Brook College emphasizes Biblical standards of moral character and encourages its students to seek the Lord Jesus Christ for wisdom and understanding in their studies. Through the personal discipline of studying and applying Scripture, students maintain the awareness that God is the ultimate moral authority to Whom we are accountable. This personalized approach to legal education is made possible through recent innovative technology.