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Teaching with Emotion: Enriching the Educational Experience of First-Year Law Students

Grant H. Morris, Univerisity of San Diego School of Law

Abstract

Through the case method and Socratic dialogue, first year law students are taught to develop critical legal analytic skills–to “think like a lawyer.” Those skills, however, are primarily, if not entirely, intellectual. This article discusses the need to address emotional issues in educating law students. Unlike other articles, my article does not merely urge professors to raise such issues in their classes and discuss them analytically. Rather, I want students to actually experience emotion in the classroom setting as they discuss various fact situations and the legal principles involved in the resolution of disputes involving those facts. Law students need to understand and appreciate the emotions of people, including their own emotions, if they are to become the best lawyers they are capable of becoming. Educating law students about emotions should not be deferred until upper class clinical courses or professional responsibility courses. The place to begin that education is in the first year. To encourage such education, I present specific examples from my first-year Torts class in which I raise issues in a manner that results in an emotional response by students. I demonstrate how such methodology stimulates class discussion and enriches the law student’s educational experience.

Suggested Citation

Grant H. Morris. "Teaching with Emotion: Enriching the Educational Experience of First-Year Law Students" San Diego L. Rev. 47.2 (2010).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gmorris/7