THINK LIKE A (WHOLE) LAWYER
more inclusive, discriminating, and integrative of experience
should be incorporated into both the substantive and skills-based academic
curriculum, in clinics and internships, and in
and professional de-
velopment programming. Teaching the theory should be explicit and inten-
tional, enabling students to take control of their own transformation both
now and in the future. Through transformative learning law students will
learn how to assess better both their and their clients’ deeply-held beliefs.
This essay will introduce the theory of transformative learning by provid-
ing an overview of the core concepts and identifying key developments. It
will then go on to provide suggestions to law professors and administrators
on incorporating the theory into the law school curriculum and co-curricular
professional development programs.
Transformative learning is occurring at law schools across the nation;
however, few law professors and administrations recognize their efforts as
transformative, or are intentionally teaching the theory. This essay seeks
to “put a name and a purpose to the practice” and to empower legal aca-
demics to identify their teachings as transformative, reinforce their practice,
and encourage intentional and purposeful teaching.
II. Transformative Learning Theory
Jack Mezirow introduced the adult learning theory of transformative learn-
ing in 1978 in an essay titled
, published in 1978
He has been the primary developer of the theory ever since. Mezirow
19 (2nd ed., 2006).