Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

An Interdisciplinary Framework for Understanding and Cultivating Law Student Enthusiasm

68 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2008 Last revised: 10 Dec 2012

Emily Zimmerman

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Date Written: January 20, 2009


Anecdotal evidence abounds about the loss of enthusiasm experienced by law students. Law review articles too note this loss of enthusiasm and the demoralization of law students that occurs during their time in law school. However, although the loss of law student enthusiasm is frequently noted, little has been done to systematically analyze law student enthusiasm. Existing literature does not provide a definition of "law student enthusiasm" or a foundation of theory and research for understanding law student enthusiasm and its significance in legal education.

In an effort to fill the gap in our understanding of law student enthusiasm, this article establishes "the enthusiasm paradigm": a new framework for understanding and cultivating law student enthusiasm. This article proposes a definition of "law student enthusiasm," drawing on psychology theory and research. Specifically, this article defines "law student enthusiasm" as law student interest for law study and vitality associated with law study. The article identifies the cultivation of law student enthusiasm as a priority for legal education. The article then applies psychology theory and research regarding interest and vitality to legal education, examining particular aspects of legal education that warrant reexamination through the lens of the enthusiasm paradigm. The article suggests numerous changes to legal education in order to cultivate law student enthusiasm, while also accomplishing the other important goals of legal education.

Keywords: law student, enthusiasm, legal education, psychology, interdisciplinary

Suggested Citation

Zimmerman, Emily, An Interdisciplinary Framework for Understanding and Cultivating Law Student Enthusiasm (January 20, 2009). DePaul Law Review, Vol. 58, No. 4, 2009; Drexel College of Law Research Paper No. 2010-A-02. Available at SSRN: or

Emily Zimmerman (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views