Archive for January 24th, 2020

January 24, 2020

Montana’s Article to be Published in the Ohio Northern University Law Review

Professor Patricia Montana’s article, Getting It Right by Writing it Wrong: Embracing Faulty Reasoning as a Teaching Tool, which she co-authored with Elyse Pepper, has been accepted for publication in The Ohio Northern University Law Review.

Patricia Montana

Below is an abstract of the article:

In the early days of legal writing, legal writing professors use exercises that have clear “right” answers. The rules are very simple and their meaning, even without looking at the cases, is usually clear. So, the “right” answer is often obvious. Indeed, it’s intuitive. Though these exercises give students a sense of accomplishment and allow them to track achievement and understand success and failure, in some ways, they reinforce a common problem in first-year law students: their inability to see beyond the surface of a legal rule. Therefore, after the most preliminary assignments, when the meaning of the general rule is not easily discernible and the “right” answer is counter-intuitive, students usually get the answer “wrong” because they neglect all but the most obvious analysis.

This Article describes a non-traditional approach to teaching legal analysis and writing—one that focuses on the process over the conclusion and encourages students to embrace their faulty reasoning as a way to get it “right.” The Article details an exercise that essentially lets the students hold on to the wrong answer when they re-work an assignment, allowing them to discover the right one on their own. It is an exercise that students, unless they go beyond the most glaring analysis, will get wrong. In the end, the process of writing it wrong to get it right is one of the most transformative learning experiences for law students in the first year of legal analysis and writing.

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