Christopher Columbus Langdell Photo

Christopher Columbus Langdell

Born: May 22, 1826

Death: Jul 6, 1906

Birthplace: New Boston

Profession: Lawyer

Nationality: United States

Christopher Columbus Langdell

Date of Birth : May 22, 1826
Date of Death : Jul 6, 1906
Birth Place : New Boston

Christopher Columbus Langdell was an American jurist and legal academic who was Dean of Harvard Law School from 1870 to 1895. Dean Langdell's legacy lies in the educational and administrative reforms he made to Harvard Law School, a task he was entrusted with by President Charles Eliot. Before Langdell's tenure the study of law was a rather technical pursuit in which students were simply told what the law is. Langdell applied the principles of pragmatism to the teaching of law as a result of which students were compelled to use their own reasoning powers to understand how the law might apply in a given case. This dialectical process came to be called the case method and has been the primary method of pedagogy at American law schools ever since. The case method has since been adopted and improved upon by schools in other disciplines, such as business, public policy, and education. This innovation, coupled with Langdell's introduction of strictly meritocratic principles into the evaluation of candidates, has led him to be considered 'arguably the most influential teacher in the history of professional education in the United States'.


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