Problem Solving for First-Year Law Students
7 Elon L. Rev. 413 (2015)
18 Pages Posted: 20 May 2017 Last revised: 17 Nov 2017
Date Written: June 5, 2015
Law students need to learn how to solve client problems and not just how to interpret and apply the law to the client's situation. This article describes the Problem Solving Workshop, a course required for all first-year students at Harvard Law School. It is designed to help students focus on determining the client's goals, the facts necessary to help the client and to apply the law, the various laws that create both constraints and opportunities, and the options available to solve the problem. We describe both the structure of the problems used in the course and the problem solving methodology, as well as tips on how any professor can create such problems for her or his own course. The problems used at Harvard Law School are available for use by law professors at any school at very low cost, and new problems are being written and posted from time to time. The problems can be found by going to The Case Studies website at Harvard Law School under the Subject of Problem Solving.
Keywords: problem solving, counseling, practical training
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