Legal Reading and Success in Law School: The Reading Strategies of Law Students With Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Leah M. Christensen
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
September 28, 2009
The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2010
Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 1475033
The new reality in legal education is that a certain percentage of our students will come to us with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or with another learning disability, either disclosed or undisclosed. Yet there has been little empirical research on how law students with learning disabilities read and understand the law. This study examines how three law students with ADD read a judicial opinion. The results suggest a relationship between successful law school performance and the use of problematizing and rhetorical reading strategies, and between less successful law school performance and the use of default reading strategies. Further, the results suggest that law students with ADD can be successful and productive members of any law school community. Simply because a law student learns differently does not mean that the student cannot learn effectively. Finally, becoming an effective legal reader may be one of the most important ways law students with ADD can enhance their law school success.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: legal education, legal reading, attention deficit disorder, ADD, disability law, learning disabilities, disabled students, different learning methods, rhetorical reading strategies
JEL Classification: K1Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 28, 2009 ; Last revised: December 13, 2012
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