Law Students Who Learn Differently: A Narrative Case Study of Three Law Students With Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Leah M. Christensen
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
August 1, 2007
Journal of Law & Health, Vol. 21, 2007
TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1004139
More law students than ever before begin law school having been diagnosed with a learning disability. As legal educators, do we have an obligation to expand our teaching methodologies beyond the typical law student? What teaching methodologies work most effectively for law students with learning disabilities? The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of law students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) about their law school experiences. The case study yielded four themes relating to the social, learning and achievement domains of the students. First, law students with ADD experienced feelings of isolation in law school. Second, the more successful law students with ADD understood their personal learning styles whereas the less successful student students did not. Third, the Socratic Method, as the predominant teaching methodology, inhibited students' learning in the classroom. Fourth, the students expressed feelings of uncertainly about their future careers as practicing lawyers with ADD. It is time for legal educators to welcome nontraditional learners into their classrooms. By seeking to create an environment of inclusion versus exclusion, by expanding our teaching methodologies and by recognizing the multitude of talents and skills our students possess, we can humanize the law school experience for everyone.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: legal education, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, law school teaching, law student learning, disability law
JEL Classification: K19Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 1, 2007 ; Last revised: December 9, 2012
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