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I talk to my 1Ls about race and the law in their first week of law school. In doing so, I have discovered that discussing race helps me introduce foundational concepts about legal writing and law school that we will return to throughout the year. That is partly because race is relevant to nearly every topic law school touches on. But it is also because race is present in—and often conspicuous in its absence from—court opinions in ways that provide rich fodder for discussing how to approach law school. That topic interests all students—even those who might be skeptical about addressing race as a core part of law school pedagogy. And for students of color, discussing race early helps build an environment that—I hope—enables them to feel that they can bring their whole selves to the classroom. This essay describes how I overcame my initial resistance to discussing race, how I go about starting a conversation about race in the very first week of class, and why doing so has made my class better.


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CCBY-4.0).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.