The Practical Implications of Unexamined Assumptions: Disrupting Flawed Legal Arguments to Advance the Cause of Justice
46 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 27, 2019
This article presents a segment of the findings from my research project that considers the link between the unexamined assumptions students bring with them to law school about race, class, gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation and the flawed legal arguments students make based on these assumptions. Through a six-year empirical research study of student motion and appellate briefs on social justice topics submitted in a required legal writing course, my work seeks to reveal how legal education both prepares and fails to prepare students to represent diverse client groups in a manner that helps rather than harms.
The research detailed in this article has the potential to change how we view the preparation of law students for law practice. Legal education touts diversity and inclusion as aspirational goals, but has largely focused efforts to achieve the same through racial diversity in admissions and in faculty hiring. Rarely have law schools mapped and studied their curricula to assess how they perpetuate inequities and reinforce hierarchies. This is the least of what is required to address barriers to advancing the cause of justice in the law and in law practice.
Keywords: Affirmative Action, Legal Pedagogy, Legal Education, Law School Admissions, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Rhetoric, Motion Briefs, Appellate Briefs, Legal Writing, Persuasion, Assessment, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
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