The media reports of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women; unprovoked attacks on innocent Jews, Muslims, religious minority groups, and LGBTQ persons; and current pervasive, divisive, and misogynistic rhetoric all cause fear and anxiety in impacted communities and frustrate other concerned citizens. Law students, and especially law students of color and of historically marginalized groups, are often directly or indirectly impacted by these reports and discrimination in all its iterations. As a result, they are stressed because they are fearful and anxious. Research shows that stress impairs learning and cognition. Research also shows that beneficial changes are made in the brain, and learning and cognition improve when students are empowered and motivated by their lessons. Incorporating issues of social justice into the first-year legal writing course benefits all students by equipping them with the knowledge and practical skills to address issues of social injustice and to affect social change. Incorporating issues of social justice into the first-year legal writing course has the added benefit of contributing to a learning environment that permits law students of color and of historically marginalized groups to learn more successfully by reducing stress, altering their perception of control over psychosocial stressors, building positive emotions, increasing confidence, and motivating them to learn.
Incorporating Social Justice into the 1L Legal Writing Course: A Tool for Empowering Students of Color and of Historically Marginalized Groups and Improving Learning,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol24/iss2/3