Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Fostering Law Student Learning Through Office Hours

DeShun Harris (Memphis), Office Hours Are Not Obsolete: Fostering Learning Through One-on-One Student Meetings, 57 Duq. L. Rev. 43 (2019):

Office hours, whether it is the traditional notion of an office hour whereby the professor has designated times for students to visit, office hours by appointment, or an open-door policy, are a great learning opportunity for students. In the law school context, the American Bar Association (ABA) requires full-time faculty members to “[be] available for student consultation about those classes” they teach. In addition to office hours, students meet one-on-one with faculty in a variety of ways: mentoring, advocacy coaching, answering substantive questions, legal writing conferences, law review note advising, career/academic support counseling, and for so many other purposes. Indeed, law students reported on the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), that most students have worked with faculty on activities other than coursework.

In evaluating the literature on teaching and learning, a great deal is written about the classroom, but what about the teaching and learning that can, and does, occur during office hours? Given the many instances during which students and faculty interact on a one-on-one basis, the limited literature on office hours in law school should be expanded to ensure we create the best learning from these instances. This article expands the research by discussing the impediments to students’ use of office hours and how to overcome them, discussing the office setting and how to make sure an office setting communicates to students a welcoming environment, exploring how to effectively navigate through an office hour by using the latest research on the office hour, and exploring how to create an environment that is best for learning.

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Perhaps. My experience at Cornell in the early 70s was decidedly mixed. My real property professor (Ernie Roberts) and evidence professor (Faust Rossi) were great. My contract’s professor, who was also my faculty advisor, and unnamed for obvious reason, was a different story. When I went into his office, there was no chair for the student – standing like an Elizabethan schoolboy in front of the seated “great man” was perhaps a clue. I told him that I was having trouble getting the difference between “estoppel” and “estoppel in pais” and asked for some assistance. He looked at me for about 10 seconds and then suggested that I read the materials with greater discernment until I could distinguish the two. My last visit.
Until I saw the topic, I have not thought of that incident since leaving school. Strangely enough, I saved a client a small fortune in personal tax several years ago by raising a collateral estoppel issue.

Posted by: aircav65 | Feb 4, 2020 1:27:53 PM