Category Archives: Navigating Legal Education

Why ASP?

An asp.

Today we will be welcoming a new class of 1Ls.  It is my job to introduce them to and interest them in the Academic Skills Program.  In thinking about how to do this, I was again struck by one of the fundamental challenges of communicating with 1Ls in the earliest days of their legal education, which is that they have not yet had the types of experiences that allow them to contextualize the information you are giving them.

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Who are the Outsiders?

Usually translated as “The Stranger,” this choice of language conveys a significantly different meaning.

Recently I was talking with some of my colleagues, discussing the need to empower students to make informed decisions about how to best pursue their legal education.  And my colleagues expressed surprise at my belief that students need to be empowered.  So I started to examine the basis for my assumption.

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The Shock of the Loss of Personal Narrative

I found this wonderful image at

This set of thoughts just came together for me this morning, so forgive me if they are as yet poorly formed.

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Engaging Students in Socratic Dialogue – Post Script

I realize that this young woman is probably like 12 years old, but I really love it as an image of a student thinking through writing. So there.

In addition to the techniques mentioned in my last blog post, law professors looking to increase student engagement might also consider the following: after completing a socratic dialogue with one student, ask all of your students to take a moment and reflect on what they think they were supposed to learn from the exercise.

This technique—asking students to consider and articulate learning objectives—can be used in conjunction with any type of exercise, including socratic dialogue.  It keep us on our toes by requiring that we be clear about why we are using certain teaching methods, and pushes students to think about and recognize how they are supposed to be learning in law school.  If we believe that we are teaching students to “think like a lawyer,” is that in fact what they are perceiving and experiencing?

Improving Our Ability to Engage Students – Variations on the Socratic Dialogue

I have sat in the back of the classrooms of accomplished, engaging, beloved law professors who routinely receive excellent student evaluations, and watched as 70% of their students turn unceremoniously away from their notes, instead perusing gmail, ESPN, and Zappos during class.  Not for the whole class, and not during the portions of class where the professor is lecturing.  Instead, laptop screens flip en masse at one, distinct moment: when the professor is engaging another student in socratic dialogue.

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Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together: Student Loan Debt and the Debate Over the Value of Scholarship

So many possible captions for this image. I will allow you to choose your own.

Everyone knows that the level of debt imposed on law school graduates is unconscionable.  (They might not use that exact term, but I will.)  Everyone also knows that there has been considerable, sustained debate over the value of the scholarship produced by law faculties.   (See related post at

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Determining the Relationship between Academic Skills and Lawyering Skills: A Foundations Manifesto

As you can imagine, the word “manifesto” is used in a variety of contexts, some less convincing than others.

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