Teaching Problem-Solving Lawyering: An Exchange of Ideas
11 Clinical L. Rev. 485 (2005)
17 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016 Last revised: 15 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2005
In the last issue of the Clinical Law Review, Stefan Krieger argues that clinical law teachers who emphasize problem-solving approaches to lawyering incorrectly downplay as a necessary prerequisite to learning effective legal practice the significance of domain knowledge, which he mainly identifies as knowledge about legal doctrine. Among the writings on clinical law teaching criticized by Krieger are those of Mark Aaronson, who has articulated as a teaching goal helping students learn how to improve their practical judgment in lawyering, which he describes as a process of deliberation whose most prominent features are a contextual tailoring of knowledge, a dialogic form of reasoning that accounts for plural perspectives, an ability to be empathetic and detached at the same time, an intertwining of intellectual and moral concerns, an instrumental and equitable interest in human affairs, and a heavy reliance on learning from cumulative experience. Krieger stresses the foundational importance for law students of acquiring substantive legal knowledge; Aaronson focuses on developing the ability of students to think critically and appropriately in role as a lawyer. In this brief exchange of ideas, Aaronson comments on Krieger's critique of problem-solving teaching in law schools, to which Krieger then responds.
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