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August 19, 2013

Argument and education

by Dan Rodriguez

Intriguing article on the advantages of argument as a modality (and technology?) of education.

Although this does not pertain to law school in particular, I was struck by the parallels between how we construct legal advocacy courses (first year legal writing and moot court, in particular).  But the general, and more provocative point in the author’s analysis is how so-called traditional, text-based courses can be improved by embedding argumentative materials.  The ability to deftly develop a case for or against a point of view and to connect empirical and theoretical analysis to a claim on behalf of a client (whether in litigation, transactional, or public policy setting) is a central skill of good lawyering.  And it can only help in lawyer training to have students who have experienced this educational approach earlier in their academic careers.

One coda:  This strategy can only be connected to the innovation of the so-called flipped classroom, that is, the assigning of core class materials to reading outside of class (perhaps in an online format), so as to use precious class time for teamwork and case study.  With foundational study under the students’ belts, think about how the class setting can be a rich environment for argument and advocacy — for shaping the ability to make cogent, persuasive arguments.

Part of the future of legal education?

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