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Teaching Empathy in Law School

37 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2008  

Joshua D. Rosenberg

University of San Francisco School of Law

Date Written: 2002


This article discusses the author's experiences teaching Interpersonal Dynamics for Lawyers, a class that strives to enable students to attain self-knowledge so that they can act effectively. The article begins my describing the author's earlier efforts at teaching values in law school and explains why those efforts failed. The article argues that much important potential learning relevant to the practice of law and the development of values is the result not of logic, reading, or analysis, but rather of environmental influences to which the legal academy pays too little attention. The article suggests that certain values tend to get lost in the law school experience, including empathy. The article asserts that empathy is an extremely important value for law students to learn and describes how Interpersonal Dynamics encourages students to become more interested in and concerned for others.

Keywords: legal education, Interpersonal Dynamics, empathy

Suggested Citation

Rosenberg, Joshua D., Teaching Empathy in Law School (2002). University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 36, 2002. Available at SSRN:

Joshua D. Rosenberg (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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