ISSN 2612-4920 - Padova University Press

The Legacy of COVID-19: Revivifying the Socratic Method for the Benefit of Legal Education in Civil Law Countries

TitleThe Legacy of COVID-19: Revivifying the Socratic Method for the Benefit of Legal Education in Civil Law Countries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHubacher, KM.
Secondary TitleJournal of Ethics and Legal Technologies
Date Published04/2021
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2612-4920
Keywordscovid-19, Legal Education, rote learning, Socratic method

A crisis marks a turning point for an entire society or a social subsystem by challenging old but not yet abandoned conceptions. In civil law countries, the infectious disease COVID-19 has led to a crisis in legal education. Despite many technological developments in society over the last few decades (e.g., digitalization, the development of the Internet, the rise of artificial intelligence), the legal education system has been remarkably sluggish and has barely adapted to these changes. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has shaken legal education to its foundations, as it has directly affected teaching methods by distancing the deliverers of know-how from its recipients. As this paper suggests, this has ultimately altered the aim of legal education and the content that is taught, moving away from an education model focused mainly on knowledge acquisition to one in which the processing of a large amount of information, critical thinking and analytical skills are quintessential. Revivifying the Socratic method of teaching plays a significant role in this new educational model and is crucial in today’s world of ever-changing social environments and laws. This method can nurture people with a legal education who are able to understand, apply, and further develop the body of law to a high quality. This paper proposes an adaptable model for future legal education in civil law countries focusing on the understanding of the legal system from a holistic perspective rather than on the reproduction of memorized knowledge.


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