Teaching with Emotion: Enriching the Educational Experience of First-Year Law Students

64 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2009 Last revised: 15 Dec 2009

Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego, School of Law - Professor of Law Emeritus

Date Written: November 20, 2009

Abstract

Through the case method and Socratic dialogue, first year law students are taught to develop critical legal analytic skills-to “think like a lawyer.” Those skills, however, are primarily, if not entirely, intellectual. This article discusses the need to address emotional issues in educating law students. Unlike other articles, my article does not merely urge professors to raise such issues in their classes and discuss them analytically. Rather, I want students to actually experience emotion in the classroom setting as they discuss various fact situations and the legal principles involved in the resolution of disputes involving those facts. Law students need to understand and appreciate the emotions of people, including their own emotions, if they are to become the best lawyers they are capable of becoming. Educating law students about emotions should not be deferred until upper class clinical courses or professional responsibility courses. The place to begin that education is in the first year. To encourage such education, I present specific examples from my first-year Torts class in which I raise issues in a manner that results in an emotional response by students. I demonstrate how such methodology stimulates class discussion and enriches the law student’s educational experience.

Keywords: emotion, legal education, torts, legal profession, teaching, psychology, cognitive science

JEL Classification: D83, I20, I21, K13, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Morris, Grant H., Teaching with Emotion: Enriching the Educational Experience of First-Year Law Students (November 20, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1510300 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1510300

Grant Harold Morris (Contact Author)

University of San Diego, School of Law - Professor of Law Emeritus ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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