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Teaching Empathy in Law Schools

Submitted by Chittam Thakore on Tue, 11-10-2009
Rosenberg, Joshua D.
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University of San Francisco Law Review
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United States
This article discusses the author's experiences teaching Interpersonal Dynamics for Lawyers, a class that strives to enable students to attain self-knowledge so that they can act effectively. The article begins by describing the author's earlier efforts at teaching values in law school and explains why those efforts failed. The article argues that much important potential learning relevant to the practice of law and the development of values is the result not of logic, reading, or analysis, but rather of environmental influences to which the legal academy pays too little attention. The article suggests that certain values tend to get lost in the law school experience, including empathy. The article asserts that empathy is an extremely important value for law students to learn and describes how Interpersonal Dynamics encourages students to become more interested in and concerned for others.