Law Students Who Learn Differently: A Narrative Case Study of Three Law Students With Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Journal of Law & Health, Vol. 21, 2007

TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1004139

29 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2007 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012

Date Written: August 1, 2007

Abstract

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.

Keywords: legal education, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, law school teaching, law student learning, disability law

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Christensen, Leah M., Law Students Who Learn Differently: A Narrative Case Study of Three Law Students With Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (August 1, 2007). Journal of Law & Health, Vol. 21, 2007; TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1004139. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004139

Leah M. Christensen (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4264 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tjsl.edu/faculty-l-christensen

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