As with the law itself, law students are always changing. And law professors should regularly consider how those changes will impact the classroom and our pedagogical approach. For our year-long Legal Writing course, the law students of 2021-22 surprised us with the careful and nuanced way they thought about language. Our 1L students were more interested in parsing the meaning, effect, and approach to potentially offensive language than any students we had taught before. We learned a lot from them.
I’ll admit it: I was afraid to try peer review in my Legal Practice class. I’ve been teaching legal analysis, writing, and research for 17 years. I know all of the benefits of peer review. I’ve read plenty of scholarship about why and how to do it well. I have space in my syllabus to incorporate it into my teaching. But I’ve been reluctant. I worried that students would be averse to sharing their work with a classmate. I worried that the exercise would embarrass students who felt self-conscious about their writing.