The doctrinal superstructure of equal protection analysis is somewhat complex. However, at the end of the day, there is a limited set of fundamental questions the Court may address to determine the outcome in both of the marriage equality cases currently before it: Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. United States.
Excellent lawyer stock photo.
I had the chance to chat recently with an outstanding former student who is starting work as an associate at a law firm. This student described some of the challenges that I remember from my own time as an associate. With the benefit of hindsight, I shared some thoughts on strategies that I wish I had employed myself (but didn’t). I’m going to repeat that here along with some wisdom shared by former students.
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.
I read J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” for the first time just a few months ago. I’m not certain why I didn’t read it earlier. It’s hard to believe that the book would have still been viewed as “controversial” by the late 1980s, when I was in highschool. But it may have been, or perhaps there was an entirely different reason it was absent from the curriculum.
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.
This set of thoughts just came together for me this morning, so forgive me if they are as yet poorly formed.
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?