Training Law Students to Maintain Civility in Their Law Practices as a Way to Improve Public Discourse

42 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020

See all articles by Nancy B. Rapoport

Nancy B. Rapoport

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Our current social discourse is broken. Not only have we resorted to name-calling instead of reasoned discussion, but we have also resorted to the fundamental attribution error: we attribute bad motives to people with whose positions we disagree rather than starting with the presumption that, perhaps, buried deep within their positions could be a grain of truth. We need to find a way to reach across the void. As a way of mending our torn social fabric, I recommend that we train law students not only to pick apart bad arguments but also to find ways to pick arguments apart without showing disrespect for the person making the argument. By training law students to behave civilly, even when they are convinced that the other person is flat-out wrong, we might just be able to get people to hear each other, rather than speak past each other--not just in law schools, not just in universities, but in our society.

Keywords: professional responsibility, legal ethics, professionalism, civility, discourse, politics, cognitive errors

JEL Classification: K00, k10, k19,k39,k49

Suggested Citation

Rapoport, Nancy B., Training Law Students to Maintain Civility in Their Law Practices as a Way to Improve Public Discourse (2020). 98 N. Caro. L. Rev. 1143 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616995

Nancy B. Rapoport (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154-1003
United States
713-202-1881 (Phone)
702-895-2482 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unlv.edu

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