The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘Legal Education’

The Historical Situation of Situationism at Harvard Law

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 24, 2012

Tito Rendas has just posted his terrific paper, “Mind Sciences in the Harvard Law School Curriculum: Tracing the History, Proposing the Proliferation” on SSRN.  We hope to post excerpts from the paper in time.  Here’s the abstract.

This paper explores the contours of the relationship between the mind sciences and the Harvard Law School curriculum, in particular, and the law curriculum more generally. Rather than using a conceptual definition of “mind sciences”, the paper will be based on an illustrative and fairly loose definition thereof. Any discipline that delves into the mechanisms that explain the functioning of the human mind and the reasons behind human behavior is considered a mind science for purposes of this study. Psychology, psychiatry, cognitive science, and neuroscience are examples of the disciplines that fit under the scope of this definition. The paper is divided into three parts.

Part I discusses the ideological sources of the relatively recent law and mind sciences movement at Harvard. Particular consideration will be given to the role played by the legal realists in questioning assumptions that would otherwise prevent the mind sciences from permeating law and policy-making.

Part II conducts an extensive historical review of the law and mind sciences courses in the HLS curriculum from 1957 to 2013. Six trends, and a predicted future trend, were identified.

Part III is normative in its essence, making the case for the expansion of the law and mind sciences curriculum. This argument is predicated on the answers to two other questions: Who should decide whether this expansion should be carried out? And, assuming its desirability, how should we go about it?

You can download the paper for free here.

Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Abstracts, Behavioral Economics, Education, History, Law, Legal Theory, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Situation of the Law School Classroom – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 21, 2009

Law School ClassroomRobert Chang and Adrienne Davis have posted their interesting article, “Making Up is Hard to Do: Race/Gender/Sexual Orientation in the Law School Classroom” (forthcoming Harvard Journal of Law and Gender (2009)) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

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This exchange of letters picks up where Professors Adrienne Davis and Robert Chang left off in an earlier exchange that examined who speaks, who is allowed to speak, and what is remembered. Here, Professors Davis and Chang explore the dynamics of race, gender, and sexual orientation in the law school classroom. They compare the experiences of African American women and Asian American men in trying to perform as law professors, considering how makeup and other gender tools simultaneously assist and hinder such performances. Their exchange examines the possibility of bias that complicates the use of student evaluations in assessing teaching effectiveness. It hypothesizes that the mechanism by which this bias manifests itself is a variant of stereotype threat, one that they call projected stereotype threat, where stereotypes of incompetence or accent are projected onto the bodies of teachers marked by difference. They examine how institutions respond or, as is more typically the case, fail to respond to these problems. They conclude with some suggestions for change, asserting that if institutions want to pay more than lip service to the goal of diversity, the success and employment conditions of women and minorities will improve only through the hiring of more women and minorities and by addressing directly the issue of bias to educate students about bias and its discriminatory effects on instructors whose bodies are marked by perceived differences and how such bias interferes with their learning.

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To read a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Banning Laptops in the Classroom – Abstract,” “The Situational Benefits of Outsiders,” and “Some Situational Sources and Consequences of Diversity.”

Posted in Abstracts, Education, Law | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Situationist Torts Earns Top 10 SSRN Ranking for Law and Psychology and Legal Education

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 11, 2008

Situationist contributors Jon Hanson and Michael McCann recently posted on SSRN a draft of their forthcoming law review article, Situationist Torts, 41 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review _ (forthcoming, 2008). SSRN has announced its Law & Psychology Top Ten and Legal Education Top Ten lists and Situationist Torts placed in the top 10 on both lists.

To download Situationist Torts for free click here. That link will direct you to the abstract and various download options.

Update: Situationist Torts has also earned a top 10 spot on SSRN’s Legal History Top Ten.

Posted in Education, Law, Legal Theory | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Law Students, Happy Lawyers – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 26, 2008

Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder posted their article, “Happy Law Students, Happy Lawyers” (forthcoming 58 Syracuse Law ReviewSSRN. We’ve pasted the abstract below.

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This article draws on research into the science of happiness and asks a series of interrelated questions: Whether law schools can make law students happier? Whether making happier law students will translate into making them happier lawyers, and the accompanying question of whether making law students happier would create better lawyers? After covering the limitations of genetic determinants of happiness and happiness set-points, the article addresses those qualities that happiness research indicates are paramount in creating satisfaction: control, connections, creative challenge (or flow), and comparisons (preferably downward). Those qualities are then applied to legal education, while addressing the larger philosophical question, What if happiness were a goal of law schools?

The authors believe that making law students happier does translate, at least in part, into making them both happier and better lawyers because there is an interplay among happiness, collaboration and professionalism. As just one example: The people who are happier in life are those who give back. There is a distinction between feeling good, the pursuit of pleasure, and doing good, which can lead to more lasting happiness, and a life with meaning. People who have a richer sense of happiness aren’t those who work on their narcissistic personal needs, but those who embrace a larger sense of civic engagement. Happily, that dovetails with pro bono obligations in law. A recent ABA survey reported that only 46% of lawyers met the ABA’s goal of 50 hours of free pro bono services. Those who did meet the aspirational goal reported a direct correlation between that form of giving back and their own satisfaction.

The article concludes with some concrete suggestions about maximizing student happiness, through addressing some of the career reasons why law students become unhappy lawyers. One of these is, as Daniel Gilbert observed in his book Stumbling on Happiness, that people are bad at forecasting what will make their future selves happy. If law schools address this phenomenon of poor prediction by offering better information on not only paths of career decision-making, salary expectations, and non-practice options but also decision theory and psychological constraints on decision making, this will increase the likelihood that students will more accurately choose how to make their future selves happy.

Posted in Abstracts, Education, Emotions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Judy Norman’s Situation – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 25, 2008

by Alli' Cat' on FlickrMarina Angel posted her important article, “Why Judy Norman Acted in Reasonable Self-Defense: An Abused Woman and a Sleeping Man” (forthcoming in Buffalo Women’s Law Journal) on SSRN. Here is the abstract.

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The reasonable man has been replaced by the reasonable person, but that person still functions within legal doctrines conceived by men and interpreted to fit the facts of men’s lives. To understand why it is sometimes reasonable for an abused woman to kill her abuser while he is asleep or otherwise incapacitated, basic criminal law doctrines do not have to be changed. They do, however, have to be applied to the facts of abused women’s lives.

The issue of exit – why didn’t she leave – must be explained. Concepts of time – immediate, imminent, and cyclical – must be reassessed. Discredited theories that label abused women who kill their abusers as suffering from insanity, a syndrome, or learned-helplessness, must be rejected. Only then can reasonableness under either the common law or the Model Penal Code be applied to the case of an abused woman who kills her sleeping abuser.

North Carolina v. Judy Ann Laws Norman provides the facts of one abused woman who killed a sleeping man. The overwhelming number of abused women who kill their abusers do so in normal confrontation cases. The abused woman who kills a sleeping or otherwise incapacitated abuser presents the most dramatic and challenging situation. Norman is the case which is included in most basic first year criminal law books. I hope this short essay will assist both teachers and students in their examination of woman abuse, and specifically Judy Norman’s case.

Posted in Abstracts, Choice Myth, Conflict, Law, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Impact of Expectations on Teaching and Learning

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 21, 2008

Barbara Glesner Fines, recently posted her 2002 article, “The Impact of Expectations on Teaching and Learning” (38 Gonzaga Law Review, Vol. 38, 200) on SSRN. The abstract is as follows.

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Law schools are in a crisis of confidence in the abilities and motivations of their students. Conferences on law school teaching feature presentations such as “The Challenges of Connecting with 21st Century Students.” Journal articles lament “The Happy Charade” that constitutes the learning and motivation of law students today. Professor Maranville of the Association of American Law Schools (“AALS”) Section on Teaching Methods summarized these sentiments:

“Many law students are so bored by the second year that their attendance, preparation, and participation decline precipitously; by graduation they have lost much of the passion for justice and the enthusiasm for helping other people that were their strongest initial motivations for wanting to become lawyers. And even in the first year, when most students remain engaged, many fail to learn even the black-letter law at a level that faculty consider satisfactory.”

Proposed solutions to these widespread concerns often focus on changing curriculum, teaching methods, or materials.

To improve learning in law schools, however, faculty may need a change of mind. A basic principle of good teaching is that of maintaining high expectations: “Expect more and you will get [more].” Nearly a century of research has established that teachers’ expectations of their students can become self-fulfilling prophecies: high expectations are correlated with high achievement, low expectations with low achievement. Moreover, once expectations are established, they tend to be self-sustaining for both students and teachers.

This Article explores the research on expectation effects in education and offers suggestions for putting the research into practice. This Article also suggests that faculty can improve legal education by critically examining their assumptions and attitudes. Finally, this Article addresses high-expectation teaching methodologies. The Article concludes by addressing concerns about institutional resistance to raising expectations. The conclusion addresses the role of student expectations and teacher evaluations, along with suggestions for addressing the emotional dimensions of teaching and learning.

Posted in Abstracts, Education, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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