How Well Do We Engage Our Students?

Posted: 18 May 2014

See all articles by Charity Scott

Charity Scott

Georgia State University - College of Law

Date Written: 2007


A common observation in recent reports on the need for reform in legal education is that after the intense first year of law school, law students become increasingly disengaged. According to a recent Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) report, while 40 percent of 1Ls said that they never came to class unprepared, only 23 percent of 2Ls and 16 percent of 3Ls reported that they never came to class unprepared (and surely some of them are fudging their answers -- probably closer to zero percent of 3Ls never come to class unprepared). The amount of time students spend reading and studying drops way off as the years go by -- from 30 hours a week for a typical 1L to 20 hours a week for a typical 3L.

As health law professors, we teach the upper-level students, the ones who by all accounts are becoming less and less engaged in law school. How do we keep them engaged and motivated to learn? How do we encourage them to think more - more often and more deeply - about the issues in health law than they might have come to class prepared to think about? How can we foster a life-long habit of engaged thinking and learning for themselves that could last long after our classes are over? The following are some thoughts, drawn in part from the experiences of some of our most thoughtful colleagues who spoke at the 2007 Health Law Professors' conference in Boston, as well as from the recent calls for reform in legal education.

Keywords: legal education, health law, student engagement, legal pedagogy, law professors, law teaching

JEL Classification: K00, Z00

Suggested Citation

Scott, Charity, How Well Do We Engage Our Students? (2007). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 35, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Charity Scott (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States
404-651-2083 (Phone)
404-651-2092 (Fax)

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