Friday, November 12, 2021
OK Boomer — The Approaching DiZruption Of Legal Education By Generation Z
Robert Minarcin (Arkansas-Little Rock), OK Boomer — The Approaching DiZruption Of Legal Education By Generation Z, 39 Quinnipiac L. Rev. 29 (2020):
Educating today’s law students is a difficult and challenging task. Add to this, the arrival of a new generation of students, the first true digital natives, born into the Internet-connected world, taking in information instantaneously and losing interest just as fast—learners accustomed to watching online lessons to learn but still valuing the professor. A generation of students always on social media and consuming mass amounts of content. Enter Generation Z.
Since the late seventies, law schools have struggled with educating the Millennial generation. Each generation, particularly Generation Z, comes to law school with varying characteristics and new challenges that distinguish them from their predecessors, challenges requiring changes to our teaching and institutions. In order to recruit, educate, and graduate this new generation of law students, educators must understand the predominant characteristics, perspectives, and learning preferences of Generation Z. With these objectives in mind, this Article examines the characteristics and learning preferences of this new cohort of students. It offers suggestions on ways traditional legal education needs to change and improve to better meet the needs of this new breed of students. This Article begins by briefly describing the generational profiles of those that preceded Generation Z, particularly their bloodline of siblings, parents, and grandparents. The Article then delves into the characteristics and personality traits of this new generation of law students.
This Article then examines the learning preferences of this new always-on, tech-savvy, realistic generation. The Article concludes with suggestions on ways to blend Generation Z’s characteristics and learning preferences into a legal education experience, embracing blended learning, multimedia, technology, and curriculum modifications, all allowing both law schools and this new generation to be successful. And maybe, just maybe, with the approach of Generation Z, it may be time to tone down Socrates and tune in YouTube.