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The discomfort doctors and lawyers feel with one another is not a consequence of the perceived medical malpractice crisis or any other single area of substantive disagreement. Rather, it is a reflection of the different epistemologies of the professions. The truth seeking activities of the two professions are very different, and these differences are reflected in the widely divergent professional educations provided to medical and law students. Much of the animosity which has developed between doctors and lawyers could be avoided, and members of each profession could have a much better understanding of the substance and analytic methods of the other discipline if law students and medical students were brought together to study medical-legal problems which arise in the context of active practice. Unfortunately, with only a few exceptions, neither medical students nor law students are currently offered medical-legal courses taught in ways reasonably calculated to provide them with the background they need. The development of a law-medicine clinic in which law students, under careful supervision, could counsel and represent medical students, interns, and residents would provide a particularly appropriate way of meeting the goals that have been established for a medical-legal course, both in the law school and in the medical school.

Publication Title

The Journal of Legal Medicine





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