Cognition and Justice: New Ways to Think Like a Lawyer
26 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 14, 2016
Practicing lawyers commonly pursue “functional justice,” which I define as the peaceful resolution of competing interests. That justice includes two sub-types: rule-abiding justice and rule-changing justice. Law schools focus primarily on rule-changing justice, while practicing attorneys most often pursue rule-abiding justice. This article, delivered as a Hartman Hotz Lecture at the University of Arkansas, explores the problems arising from that rift.
The pursuit of rule-changing and rule-abiding justice require complementary, but somewhat different, cognitive skills. By overlooking the complex skills of rule-abiding justice, law schools fail to fully prepare their graduates to “think like a lawyer.” Schools should continue to teach the skills of rule-changing justice, but must complement that work with more attention to rule-abiding justice. Otherwise, clients suffer and lawyers risk losing more of that work to other professionals.
Keywords: Legal Education, Mentoring, Professional Ethics
JEL Classification: K1, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation