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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, July 24, 2015

Trigger Warnings And The Law School Crisis

Trigger Warning 2Kim Chanbonpin (John Marshall), Crisis and Trigger Warnings: Reflections on Legal Education and the Social Value of the Law, 90 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 615 (2015):

This Essay begins by understanding the law school crisis through the framework of disaster capitalism. This framing uncovers the ways in which reformers are taking advantage of the current crisis to restructure legal education. Under the circumstances, faculty may reasonably read the contemporaneous student-led movement to require trigger warnings in the classroom as an assault on academic freedom. This reading, however, clouds the water. Part II attempts to clear the confusion by decoupling the trigger-warning movement from the broader phenomenon of law school corporatization. Trigger-warning demands might alternatively be read as a student critique of traditional law school pedagogy. Especially in the first year, the role of faculty is to indoctrinate students in a system of dispassionate analysis where subjective experiences and emotional reactions have no place. In this light, the trigger warning debate offers an opportunity to fundamentally alter the learning process by inviting students to become partners in the production of knowledge by allowing them to reclaim power in the classroom. Attending to student concerns facilitates robust discussions where the assigned materials are thoroughly dissected and debated, a result that ultimately benefits everyone in the classroom. Part III proposes that law school is still a good option for those students who are interested in both rigorous intellectual exercise and developing the practical skills necessary for the effective representation of clients. This discussion lays the foundation for a reflection on a broader question—the role of law in a democracy. Although the U.S. legal system falls short of perfect justice and equality, lawyers ought to be vigilant when confronted with market demands that would force law and society to cede ground to powers that represent solely private interests.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/07/trigger-warnings-and-the-law-school-crisis.html

Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Comments

this article appears to be a collection of buzzwords and half thought out conclusions (e.g., disaster capitalism, trigger warning, corporatization, the role of law in democracy).

this is the 'scholarship' all that student debt is financing.

I tell you what the role of law in democracy should *not* be: hobbling students with a lifetime of debt. John Marshall appears to take any student who can fog a mirror and sign a master student lending agreement.

Posted by: terry malloy | Jul 24, 2015 5:18:06 AM

Complete nutjob article.

Posted by: Nick | Jul 24, 2015 6:10:24 AM

Mr. Malloy, you're a better man than I. Whenever I try to read stuff like this, I shut down on the first buzz word that makes no sense. " Trigger Warning? Is the author talking about gun locks? Or is the author saying trigger fish is unsafe to eat?

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jul 24, 2015 6:49:46 AM

Malloy's comment above on point. After reading the article's intro, just the sort of esoteric nonsense the profession do us not need.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 24, 2015 7:49:53 AM

This is pretty much a standard article from a young professor. Nothing useful, far adrift from anything to do with the law, loaded up with meaningless words and phrases, and, of course, self-absorbed. Thank god faculty hiring is dramatically down!

Posted by: JM | Jul 24, 2015 8:48:29 AM

"Especially in the first year, the role of faculty is to indoctrinate students in a system of dispassionate analysis where subjective experiences and emotional reactions have no place. In this light, the trigger warning debate offers an opportunity to fundamentally alter the learning process by inviting students to become partners in the production of knowledge by allowing them to reclaim power in the classroom."

This is everything that is wrong with academia today. The law, especially 1st year core subjects, is supposed to be objective. Teachers are supposed to impart knowledge to students who are ignorant of the law, and enable them to build their foundations. Subjective and emotional reactions have no place in the law, unless we want to abandon our entire system of fairness and neutrality in the eyes of the law.

Posted by: Todd | Jul 24, 2015 10:58:18 AM

I don't know what you guys are talking about - as an actual lawyer, I found this article very interesting and highly relevant to my practice. I will be sure to cite it often in my trial court motion practice as well as in my appellate briefs. How trigger warnings relate to the subject of law in a democracy is definitely an practice area on which judges will need education.

Posted by: Lonnie | Jul 24, 2015 3:02:00 PM