Re-Envisioning Law Student Scholarship
58 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 26, 2019
As law schools face more pressure to prepare students for law practice, develop learning outcomes, and assess the extent to which students are meeting those outcomes, the time is ripe to consider the role of law student scholarship in the program of legal education. This article suggests that we should think more intentionally about how law students’ engagement in scholarship can promote their professional development. In so doing, we should recognize that legal scholarship plays a different role for law students than it does for law professors. Rather than trying to replicate law professors’ relationship with scholarship, the pedagogy of scholarship should focus more intentionally on the value of scholarship for law students—most of whom will not become law professors. This article suggests that much of the value of scholarship for law students lies in process, rather than product. Accordingly, the article suggests that we should focus more on the process of creating scholarship in and of itself, rather than thinking of process largely as a means to the end of students’ creation of a traditional scholarly paper. The article offers examples of ways to re-focus attention on the process of scholarship and more deliberately give scholarship a role in students’ professional development. In addition, the article suggests taking advantage of the scholarly freedom that law students have to think creatively about the products of the scholarly process, in order to both enable students to devote more time to the process itself and engage students in projects that have more meaning to them.
Keywords: legal education, law students, scholarship, professional development, reflection
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