Question of the Week

Are the Socratic method and lecture-based classes the best way to teach law students?

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Should law school classes be more visual? This week, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.) took note of an upcoming essay for the Maine Law Review by Suffolk University Law School professor Shailini Jandial George that asserts that the law school lecture format needs a revamp.

Although initiatives from a number of sources “have led to discussions on how best to teach students, unfortunately not enough has changed in law school teaching, which includes mostly Socratic method, combined with lecture and discussion, and culminates in one exam at the end of the course, on which students often receive little or no feedback,” George wrote. She thinks today’s law students would benefit from the use of more visual aids, visual exercises, and assessments of their work during class time.

So this week, we’d like to ask you: Is the Socratic method and lecture-based classes the best way to teach law students? If not, what do you see as a better method? If the teaching at your law school was decidedly not Socratic method, please share how effective you thought your own classes were.

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Are you living and working in your dream city? If not, where do you want to land?

Featured answer:

Posted by Rebecca: “Left my hometown and went east to law school in D.C. 30 years ago with an open mind about where in the country I might want to settle—but in the end I came home to Seattle, my great gray city. Outdoors, restaurants, good folks, even rain like today for times to curl up inside with a good cup of coffee. We say a real Seattleite is someone who moves to southern California for the sunshine, then gets up one morning and says, ‘another g—d—nice day,’ and moves back.”

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