Some Strategies to Teach Reluctant Talkers to Talk About Law

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 54, p. 570, December 2004

18 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008

See all articles by Sarah E. Ricks

Sarah E. Ricks

Rutgers School of Law - Camden

Date Written: 2004


Talking confidently about law is an important skill in legal practice, yet law teachers rarely devote much attention to developing students' oral skills when fluency does not come to them naturally. Learning to talk about law can be important to success within law school as well. There are many reasons why some students do not speak in class. Many people, both male and female, do not take naturally to public speaking. Even if law students intuitively grasp the importance of learning to talk about law, they often feel intimidated and distressed in the classroom and consequently are reluctant to speak in class. Some students do not recognize the value of learning to talk about law. Finally, there are cultural and political reasons why some students choose silence over participation; the relative silence of women is well documented.

If learning to talk about law is important to success in law school and later in law practice, law teachers should put more emphasis on oral communication skills. This essay suggests several strategies for drawing out reluctant talkers. The underlying assumption is that repeated forays into public speaking about law will reduce the student's anxiety about each outing and the individual significance of each attempt. All of the suggestions outlined in this essay have helped me or other law teachers to get students into the habit of talking about law and all have been used or are adaptable for use in many different courses.

Keywords: legal education, oral skills, Socratic, law students, professionalism, law practice, feminism, mentoring, oral argument, teaching, pedagogy

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Ricks, Sarah E., Some Strategies to Teach Reluctant Talkers to Talk About Law (2004). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 54, p. 570, December 2004, Available at SSRN:

Sarah E. Ricks (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law - Camden ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States
856-225-6419 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics