The Double-Edged Sword of Legal Education: Uncertainty Mitigation and Social Innovation During a Pandemic.


Socialization activities are a paramount part of the learning process, as well as other informal and non-formal education opportunities arising from participation in the University’s social life. With that taken away due to the implementation of social distancing measures, students often can feel isolated, depressed, and anxious, and thus face unprecedented challenges in achieving their learning objectives. University educators are mandated to reflect on how to shape the teaching activities to maximize their impact on students’ cultural backgrounds and skills; ultimately, what we should care about is our students’ wellbeing in a view of accompanying them to success in life. As Hobbes thought us at the very beginning of our legal studies, the social contract theory implies the use of law as a means for contrasting uncertainty, fear, and even violence. Often the link between legal studies (and students, regardless of the seniority) and society as a whole operates behind the curtains of technicalities and of not easily accessible narratives. By unveiling this important relationship, law teaching activities can contribute to de-escalating some of the lockdown side effects upon students and at the same time trigger innovative societal changes. Methods exist and can be further developed for creating a rich learning environment, where law represents a tool for participation and inclusion despite the challenges posed by prolonged e-learning and remotely operated education activities. The simulation of decision-making, legislative, or court proceedings can empower the participatory side of law studies. The present reflection will contextualize the social contract theory to the present time and develop it into viable teaching techniques for law educators, capable to achieve a threefold objective: 1) keep the students’ interest in the subject high and thus boost their results in their legal studies; 2) generate social and legal innovation thanks to a unique bottom-up approach provided for by early-stage lawyers who will lead the world community in the near future, and 3) mitigate the negative effects of social distancing within the law students and teachers community by stimulating active thinking and providing groundbreaking learning environments and new, participatory teaching methods. In order to provide examples of the statements above, the paper will conclude by detailing three learning environments and how to implement them in law classes.

Querci I. (2021) "The Double-Edged Sword of Legal Education: Uncertainty Mitigation and Social Innovation During a Pandemic. " Journal of Ethics and Legal Technologies, 3(1), 59-72. DOI: 10.14658/pupj-JELT-2021-1-4  
Year of Publication
Journal of Ethics and Legal Technologies
Issue Number
Start Page
Last Page
Date Published
ISSN Number
Serial Article Number