Arguably the most important philosopher in history, Socrates (470-399 BC) established a teaching technique that currently serves as one of the fundamental features of legal education in the United States: the Socratic method.
The Socratic method is a process in which the professor engages his or her students in questioning in order for them to reach their own conclusions and get to the core of the material through layered reasoning. Instead of lecturing about the content of the law, the Socratic method allows students to engage in dialogue with their professors, drawing out key legal principles through guided questions and case studies.
By using the Socratic method, law professors at most of the leading universities in the United States help students delve deeper into legal cases to sharpen their reasoning and analytical skills. In the U.S. legal system, every lawyer should be capable of arguing both sides of a case, and through Socratic method training, students are able to make well-reasoned, articulate arguments for their client — whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant.
@WashULaw is unique from other online legal programs in that we offer students the full Socratic method experience by using our state-of-the-art online platform. As a student in our online program, you do not have to sacrifice the mode of teaching that lies at the core of U.S. law schools. Through live, face-to-face interactions with distinguished Washington University School of Law professors, students are able to engage in Socratic dialogue and examine legal cases just as an on-campus LL.M. or MLS student would. Not only is @WashULaw academically rigorous, but it also sets itself apart from other online legal programs, with the use of the Socratic method.
The Socratic method helps students build the skill sets used by U.S. attorneys on a daily basis. Through this intensive educational experience, students are able to formulate strong ideas and arguments — and comfortably present them publicly.
Discover more about the Socratic method and watch an example of student-professor dialogue in the following video: