Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Law School For Helicoptered Millennials
Katerina Lewinbuk (South Texas), Taci Villarreal (J.D. 2020, South Texas) & Elena Bolonina (J.D. 2020, South Texas), The Voice of the Gods Is Crippling: Law School for Helicoptered Millennials, 10 St. Mary's J. on Legal Malpractice & Ethics 30 (2019):
As millennials dominate law school classrooms, many professors are recognizing the importance of altering the traditional methods of teaching law. Millennials act, think, and learn differently. Numerous factors are linked to why this new generation of law students is distinctively different than previous generations. This article examines these factors and how they influence millennials’ learning styles. Alternative methods of teaching millennial law students are also discussed and proposed, along with a specific example of a tailored professional responsibility textbook and course to the modern law student.
Today, the legal profession is going through various challenges and changes. The incoming millennial generation of law students and lawyers are undoubtedly one of the many contributions to this change. Because they were raised differently with the commonly blamed helicopter parents, arguably protecting them from real-life experience, millennials act, think, and learn differently. With such a vastly different upbringing than previous generations, millennials exhibit personality attributes such as a lack of selfefficiency, supreme confidence, and entitlement, thereby leaving their unprepared professors and supervisors baffled when teaching and offering professional training to them. Needless to say, an adjustment to the current legal education structure, coupled with the addition of some newly-created teaching and learning options, are needed to accommodate this new generation of law student and to close the gap between the classic Socratic Method approach and the way millennials are best able to process information. One has to realize that meeting this goal, while simultaneously maintaining a historically-established high level of expectation for legal education and practice, is not an easy task. However, it can certainly be done!
This article discussed the above-described conflict in-depth, while at the same time offered specific steps to avoid the clash and bring the incoming millennial law students and lawyers on board. As an example, the Author discussed her personal experience of teaching millennial law students in her classroom and how she attempted to face this challenge by creating a new type of Professional Responsibility textbook, designed with a modern law student and professor in mind.
As a foundation of our entire profession, the subject of legal ethics is a great place to start implementing these long-needed changes.