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'Thinking' in a Deweyan Perspective: The Law School Exam as a Case Study for Thinking in Lawyering


Donald J. Kochan


Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

November 4, 2011

Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 2, 2012
Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 11-30

Abstract:     
As creatures of thought, we are thinking all the time, but that does not necessarily mean that we are thinking well. Answering the law school exam, like solving any problem, requires that the student exercise thinking in an effective and productive manner. This Article provides some guidance in that pursuit. Using John Dewey’s suspended conclusion concept for effective thinking as an organizing theme, this Article presents one basic set of lessons for thinking through issues that arise regarding the approach to a law school exam. This means that the lessons contained here help exercise thought while taking the exam - to think through the exam approach. The second, more subtle, purpose is to demonstrate that the law school exam can serve as a case study in the effectiveness of certain thinking tools that have much broader application. For that reason, this Article is not your typical “how-to” guide, but instead provides guidance critically and generally applicable to the thinking enterprise itself.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: law school exams, suspended conclusion, John Dewey, problem solving, pedagogy, critical thinking, law school hypos, judicial review of agency action, thinking, thought processes, show your work, conclusory

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Date posted: November 4, 2011 ; Last revised: December 31, 2012

Suggested Citation

Kochan, Donald J., 'Thinking' in a Deweyan Perspective: The Law School Exam as a Case Study for Thinking in Lawyering (November 4, 2011). Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 2, 2012; Chapman University Law Research Paper No. 11-30. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1954291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1954291

Contact Information

Donald J. Kochan (Contact Author)
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
714-628-2618 (Phone)
714-628-2576 (Fax)

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