Paul L. Caron

Monday, July 26, 2021

Normalizing Law Students' Academic Struggles To Build Resilient Lawyers

Catherine Martin Christopher (Texas Tech), Normalizing Struggle, 73 Ark. L. Rev. 27 (2020):

Learning lawyering skills, and becoming competent or proficient in them, is a struggle. This article is a call to action for all legal educators: We need to acknowledge that students struggle, to expect it, and to convey to students that their struggle is normal. In fact, struggle is productive — learning is hard, and lawyers learn and struggle throughout their careers.

This article examines and criticizes the ways legal academia treats law students’ academic struggle as a problem, and suggests that legal educators reorient their attitudes toward struggle, forgiving and embracing student struggle, even building opportunities for struggle into the curriculum. By normalizing the fact of struggle, law schools will not only improve the wellness of their students, but also create lawyers who are better prepared to cope with the constant problem-solving required of successful lawyers.

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