Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. David Coogan


Traditional legal education is sorely imbalanced. A law student receives rigorous training in legal doctrine and analytical skills—he learns to "think like a lawyer"—but is left with little training in practical skills or his ethical role in society. Moreover, law schools rely almost exclusively on the ineffectual pedagogy of the case-dialogue, or "Socratic," method. Several factors explain this entrenched imbalance, most notably the academy's top-down power structure and its budget constraints. Increasingly, however, the marketplace is demanding practice-ready lawyers who have strong training not only in doctrine but in practical skills and ethics. Law schools, responding to this market pressure, are beginning to implement pedagogies that foster this balanced legal training. Toward this end, I advocate implementing into law school curricula three specific, workable pedagogies: using group learning models, using writing as a learning tool, and using assessment as a formative and ongoing component of the learning process.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008