Left Learning: Theory and Practice in Teaching from the Left in Law School


In exploring the current state of legal education and its inherent challenges, we articulate the exigency for change in legal pedagogy and suggest possibilities for transforming intransigent institutional characteristics. Situating legal education in our current political and social context, we connect the leftist impulse to question the status quo with arguments for imbuing legal teaching with a more critical perspective. We recognize that reform at this level is likely to be slow. Psychological, epistemological, and institutional resistance to change stems from the resiliency of routine and naturalized hierarchies of knowledge and power. Despite the wealth of experience and the breadth and depth of research on education, the legal community perpetuates a style of legal education blind to the needs of the current political and social context. Classrooms, habits, and institutions of learning entrench patterns of knowledge that facilitate the maintenance of distorted information. To better respond to the complexity and fluidity of student experiences, institutional structures must see themselves as the agents of change in shaping the purpose of legal education.

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