44 Southern Illinois Law Journal 179 (2020)
47 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 14, 2020
Legal educators can revolutionize our students’ education and careers by collectively addressing critical reading deficiencies in entering law students. Legal education stakeholders must accept that critical reading is a persistent, growing problem for a large swath of incoming law students, and they should recognize that the problem is a wicked one. Wicked problems cannot be definitively described, are seen differently by different stakeholders, have numerous causes, and are improvable but not completely solvable. Additionally, all stakeholders need to be part of the search for acceptable ways to address wicked problems. The deficit of critical reading skills in law students has all the characteristics of a wicked problem that is far too prevalent and nuanced to be solved by one small sector of stakeholders.
To convince two of the most important stakeholders to participate—students and casebook faculty—law schools should gather empirical evidence by testing incoming students’ critical reading skills using a test developed by legal scholars. At that point, all stakeholders in the law school can move forward to build a common understanding of the problem and its solutions through ongoing dialogue.
Keywords: legal education, critical reading, legal writing, reading assessment
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