Free Paper on the Most Common Law Teaching Methods

Published: 2022-04-06 22:28:39
Free Paper on the Most Common Law Teaching Methods
Type of paper:  Dissertation chapter
Categories: Teaching Law
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1349 words
12 min read
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Fifth is the legal clinics. Legal clinics are used as a technique in the advanced learning stages. They are usually legal practices that are often established under the legal studies department of a higher learning institution (Katz & O'Neill, 2009). These legal practices are then operated by the law students who take pro-bono cases and offer other legal solutions to the community for free. In the process of their preparation during a legal clinic, a student can interact with the real world and practical experience different aspects of the legal profession. At this point, the students are usually working as apprentices under the head of the legal clinic who is often a registered legal practitioner.

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In the US, the Socratic, case, and problem methods are the most common law teaching methods. The Socratic method is usually an ideal method through which to pass information. In this method, students are required to discuss some legal issues (Hess et al., 2011). A professor interacts with the student in such a way that they do not always reveal their opinion without allowing the students to think for themselves. This method is also used in the students' tests. Traditionally, US universities often issued one examination to be taken at the end of a course. However, in response to a rising need for professionalism in legal practice, better testing techniques have been adopted whereby tests are taken periodically. It ensures that asides from the final analysis, students are also givens some tests that are also included in the final assessment results.

The problem method is also conventional and is often combined with other methods such as the Socratic method. It stimulates the students to exercise their legal knowledge in different scenarios. The problem-based approach has also been proven to be effective in pushing the students to study widely and do their research aside from their lectures and assignments (Hess et al., 2011). Often, the student is presented with a problem that they may not be able to solve with their current knowledge level, forcing them to seek more knowledge, either from books or from their tutors. Problem-based learning is the ability to learn from a specific scenario. While it is essential to solve a problem, some problems presented during problem-based learning exercises may not necessarily be solved. The emphasis is usually put in learning from them (Hess et al., 2011). The case method is another conventional teaching method in US law schools.

The case method is arguably one of the best ways of teaching US law, although it is often less commonly used in schools as compared to the Socratic method (Sheppard, 2005). In many cases, they are interfused where the Socratic method is used in the discussion and analysis of past cases and their rulings. The case method entails the study and analysis of original judicial proceedings and judgments to understand the legal framework behind them. The case method is also useful in allowing the students to mentally visualize a hypothetical situation whereby they analyze the case form different legal standpoints of the parties involved in the case (Sheppard, 2005).

The history of case law in the US goes back to the 17th and 18th century where it was introduced by the English settlers as they immigrated to the newly found continent (Sheppard, 2005). Case law was derived from the concept of apprenticeship, which was the only method through which the English learned to code at the time. Legal apprentices often spent their time in the offices of experienced legal professionals while studying and learning how to work with cases (Sheppard, 2005). They analyzed using the actual instances of their superiors or masters until they were knowledgeable enough to hand instances of their own, hence the phrase 'case law.'

In the 19th century, bar examinations were introduced, as a method of testing apprentices to determine whether they would be allowed to practice (Sheppard, 2005). Even then, the apprenticeship system was still, and the legal profession was not associated with any tertiary educational institutions. The Harvard Law School is the oldest law faculty, established in 1817. It was the first time that lawyers taught students under an institutional setting (Sheppard, 2005). Other tertiary education institutions soon followed suit, creating their faculties of law, thus led to the invention of case law as a method of teaching.

One of the advantages of this method is that it uses real past cases to illustrate or demonstrate specific legal principles and applications (Gane & Huang, 2017). It is, therefore, one of the most relevant methods of delivery. Secondly, case law actively engages the students' minds allowing them to interact with a realistic view of the legal framework. It enhances the understanding and retention of knowledge. Cases are also useful reference points during problem solution, as they are past precedents. One of the weaknesses of this method is that it is difficult to analyze all the cases that have been through the courts. Thus some relevant that would have been more useful in the illustration of a concept may be left out. Moreover, some of the cases may be too old to be studied (Katz & O'Neill, 2009).

The France legal education model affected Arab law schools in numerous ways. Firstly, the Arabs have a distinctively different legal system as compared to the western culture. It is especially so in the Arabian Peninsula, where the Shariah law is still in force in its purest form (Sultany, 2018). The Arabian Peninsula was less affected by the fusion of the western legal values and the shariah law which had previously been in force in Islamic societies for centuries.

The nature of the shariah law was that it had been so ingrained into the way of life and Islamic culture that it dictated every detail of how things should be done. It was indistinguishable from politics and religion. French law is fundamentally different with the law being separate from religion and being separate from government (Sultany, 2018). These differences also affect the methods or techniques through which the knowledge is delivered. Owing to the nature of shariah law it is taught in all settings because it encompasses life itself.

The contamination of this law by western culture has led to the introduction of French teaching methods, especially in Egypt, a country whose culture seems to be torn between the east and the west. The introduction of western influence has undermined the traditions of the Islamic communities. Before the 19th century, the entire western legal framework was foreign to the Arabs (Sultany, 2018). Now, various higher learning institutions in Arabic countries such as Egypt have embraced numerous western aspects of their teaching methods. Modernization has played a role in this transition and fusion, because at current technological levels, interdependency has increased, and it has become close to impossible for the Islamic countries to isolate themselves, culturally or otherwise.

Lecturing is maybe the oldest teaching technique known to man. While it may be common in legal teaching, it is often discouraged. It is one whereby the tutors merely lecture the students in a classroom setting (Katz & O'Neill, 2009). The lecturer may also have some notes which they dictate to the students, or the students can only listen and take notes in shorthand as the lecturer speaks. The lecturer may also provide reference material in the form of handouts or online records, and teach them to the students listen. The lecture method is useful during the first years in legal studies, whereby the student is primarily being introduced to law. Lectures are also often helpful when the tutor needs to give explanations on various legal concepts.

More often than not, lectures are a one-way mode of information transfer. It means that information flows from the lecturer to the students and not vice versa. Lectures do not also involve discussions. They are therefore less engaging, and the students may find it hard to concentrate. Lecturing should, therefore, be accompanied by other techniques of sound teaching to maximize effectiveness (Katz & O'Neill, 2009). Moreover, students may sometimes miss out on some of the information inte...

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