Exploring Diversity with a 'Culture Box' in First-Year Legal Writing

32 The Second Draft 23 (2019)

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper

4 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2021

See all articles by Ann Sinsheimer

Ann Sinsheimer

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Studying law is in many ways like studying another culture. Students often feel as though they are learning a new language with unfamiliar vocabulary and different styles of communication. Throughout their legal education, students are also exposed to a profession comprised of unique traditions and expectations. As a result, learning law takes time and energy. It can be both engaging and frustrating and may even challenge some of students’ values and belief systems. To ease her students’ transition to law school, the author starts her course each year with a “culture box” exercise, which encourages students to examine who they are, what they think about the law, and why they want to pursue a law degree. These culture boxes can be tangible boxes containing physical objects or can be pictures and representational objects, verbal descriptions, quotes, words, family stories or narratives of important events, as the students choose. In this article, the author describes how she guides her students to prepare their culture boxes, discusses the way in which the exercise celebrates the diversity within her 1L class, and offers ideas on how others may use this technique in their classrooms.

Keywords: Diversity, Culture Box, Legal Education, Law School, One Ls, Legal Writing, Reflection

Suggested Citation

Sinsheimer, Ann, Exploring Diversity with a 'Culture Box' in First-Year Legal Writing (2019). 32 The Second Draft 23 (2019), U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3959211

Ann Sinsheimer (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-1281 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.pitt.edu/people/ann-sinsheimer

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