Adam may come to regret asking this.🙂 Because I most definitely have thoughts about some of the analytical lessons and methods taught, explicitly and implicitly, to those learning to "think like a lawyer" that can be useful much more broadly.

A perhaps slightly lengthy thread:
First, I think I have to talk about the power of reasoning by analogy.

If you get a legal education in an nation that has an Anglo-American system of legal traditions, you'll spend a lot of time reading case law and learning how to dissect case precedents.
And, eventually (at least in US law schools), to make written and verbal arguments about them yourself.
The whole exercise of extracting legal rules and figuring out how and whether they apply to a current circumstance is really an exercise in reasoning by analogy.
Once you start to get somewhat good at such things, you start to understand a bit about how powerful reasoning by analogy can be. When done well, it allows us to draw on powerful insights of those from the past and take advantage of experiences without reinventing the wheel.
Now, in doing so one must always be careful not to treat as similar things that should not really be treated as similar. And key parts of leaning how to reason and argue about precedent case law involve exactly that.
Second, I think the process of legal education teaches you to be better at separating evaluating the merits of an argument from what opinions you have generally about those that are making it or would benefit from it being accepted.
When you start reading those cases I mentioned, you'll quickly start coming across ones where you dislike what a certain party was doing, but you see the legal merits of what they are arguing in front of a court.
In other words, you see either why the law is on their side or why, for policy reasons and the greater good, the law should be on their side given certain facts in the case that will also be true in many other cases.
Separating out dislike, even revulsion, for one making an argument from evaluating the merits of that argument is a really hard thing. But if you commit yourself with intellectual honesty to the study of law (and, in many roles, the practice of it), you'll have to deal with that.
Third, the fact that in many exercises in legal education--and in many situations in some roles in the practice of law--you don't really get to choose which side of an argument you'd prefer to be on is helpful to your analytical development.
Being assigned a side and told to make the best arguments for or against something actually trains you in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of positions in more rigorous ways.
If you're really learning the lesson, you start to see that many disputes which might appear clear cut are more closely balanced than many might appreciate.
Fourth, and finally (for now), I'll quickly mention learning the rules and techniques of techniques of litigation (at least under US law) , and some useful analytical lessons I've taken from that.
If you want to practice litigation in the US, you have to learn the rules of evidence and procedure.
Doing so hopefully gets you to think probably more than you ever have about what kind of proof really should be persuasive to you when it comes to accepting or rejecting claims.
(Note: Many who have been educated in and/or practiced law can find the effects of thinking like this seeping into interactions in their personal lives.
Trying to explain to your spouse why a point they're making is actually irrelevant isn't likely to go well.)
When it comes to trial practice and advocacy, let me also throw in a word about learning lessons from cross examination and how to deal with experts.
Cross examination in a court of a law can be one of the greatest devices for ascertaining truth there is. And the process of learning how to prepare cross--the in-depth study of the facts, the bringing of detail-oriented scrutiny--tremendously builds your analytical muscles.
Finally (really finally) the study and practice of litigation teaches you how to evaluate, scrutinize, and critically compare claims made by experts. Especially where there are competing experts on different sides. (And you can *always* find an expert to disagree with another.)
Whew. Anyway, those are my off-the-cuff🙂 thoughts about the question.


• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Brian in Pittsburgh

Brian in Pittsburgh Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!