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Friday, October 5, 2007

Ken Hirsh's Advice for Erwin Chemerinsky: Teach Psychology and Human Behavior

Continuing our series of responses from various legal luminaries to the question:  What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine?

Hirsch_2Kenneth Hirsh (Director of Computing Services and Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke University School of Law; Member, Board of Directors, Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)):

What practicing attorney has not asked himself or herself, "why did my client do that" or "why did our adversary decide to pursue this?" The traditional law school curriculum ignores the one factor that plays as large a role in human interaction as any other - psychology. It is a given that knowledge of substantive and procedural law is required for a lawyer to effectively represent a client. But such knowledge is used in a vacuum if the attorney does not understand the rationale, or lack of any rationale, for a person's behavior. What is the motivation? Why is something seemingly so insignificant to me so life-altering to you? I would add courses in basic psychology and human behavior to the law school curriculum.

For all the posts in the series, see here.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2007/10/ken-hirshs-advi.html

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