'Thinking' in a Deweyan Perspective: The Law School Exam as a Case Study for Thinking in Lawyering
24 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012 Last revised: 4 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 4, 2012
As creatures of thought, we are thinking all the time, but that does not necessarily mean that we are thinking well. Answering the law school exam, like solving any problem, requires that the student exercise thinking in an effective and productive manner. This Article provides some guidance in that pursuit. Using John Dewey’s suspended conclusion concept for effective thinking as an organizing theme, this Article presents one basic set of lessons for thinking through issues that arise regarding the approach to a law school exam. This means that the lessons contained here help exercise thought while taking the exam — to think through the exam approach. The second more subtle purpose is to demonstrate that the law school exam can serve as a case study in the effectiveness of certain thinking tools that have much broader application. For that reason, this Article is not your typical “how-to” guide, but instead provides guidance critically and generally applicable to the thinking enterprise itself.
Keywords: law school exams, suspended conclusion, John Dewey, problem solving, pedagogy, critical thinking, law school hypos, judicial review of agency action, thinking, thought processes, show your work, conclusory
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