June 21, 2018 Articles

Law and Teaching: A Primer

By Carla Varriale

“The thing I loved the most—and still love the most about teaching—is that you can connect with an individual or a group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits.”

—Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach

Teaching and the practice of law are more alike than you might think. While they are ostensibly different careers, with different responsibilities, rewards, and challenges, they share some similarities. Both fields require intellectual ability, discipline, and an innate ability to connect with people. Both careers require rigorous preparation and the ability to harness your imagination and the imagination of your audience, whether your audience consists of clients, judges, pupils, or administrators. Lawyers are, by necessity, lifetime students who are required to keep abreast of developments and changes in the law. Good trial lawyers are natural educators, and the treasured mentoring relationship between partners and associates evokes many of the qualities that are considered teaching skills.

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