Thinking Like a Fox: Four Overlapping Domains of Good Lawyering
9 Clinical L. Rev. 1 (2002)
45 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2016
In a modest refraining of what it is that we should be teaching to prepare students for the practice of law, this essay identifies and discusses the importance of four overlapping domains of good lawyering: Role conceptualization; problem solving; decision making; and, practical judgment. While there is considerable diversity in the courses offered at most law schools, the overwhelming learning experience for a large majority of law students is set by the case method as introduced during the first year and a fairly standard diet of doctrinal courses. Most students venture into nontraditional course areas only a few times during their law school years. As a result, scant direct attention is given to encouraging students to think comprehensively in role as a lawyer, which is what heightened consideration of the four domains of good lawyering is intended to encourage. The domains, though intricately related in practice, are discussed separately to highlight their distinctive characteristics as aspects of thoughtful, responsive, and responsible lawyering and their significance as instructional themes in any course. The concluding section emphasizes that law schools for the 21st century are best thought of as schools of lawyering, a term which encompasses learning about both law and the practice of law. Course catalogues now contain a mix of traditional doctrinal courses, liberal arts courses, and simulated and live-client practice and skills courses. These three strains in contemporary legal education are equally important if students are to gain critical and comprehensive, foundational knowledge regarding both what they should think about in role as a lawyer and how they might go about doing such thinking.
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