Sessions Information

  • April 28, 2021
    4:45 pm - 5:30 pm
    Session Type: Concurrent Sessions
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: N/A
    Room: N/A
    Floor: N/A
    Empathy has been at the center of the practice of law since at least Atticus Finch. In To Kill a Mockingbird, (the woke) Atticus teaches his children: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” Empathy is also, not coincidentally, at the core of clinical legal education. In this session, we will explore the concept of empathy and its importance in the practice of law and the teaching of law students. We will begin by trying to define empathy – a term that is not defined in Black’s Law Dictionary. This will not be an easy task because empathy is not a one-dimensional concept and, as a result, there is not a single, consistent definition of empathy. After defining and exploring the various dimensions of empathy, we will turn how empathy is used – or not used, or misused – in the practice of law. We will initially focus on the role of empathy in client counseling. We will also consider how empathy works when the clinical program serves a group from a defined community rather than an individual client. Our goals for the session are to generate lively conversation about the importance of teaching empathy, practicing empathy, and recognizing empathy as a key lawyering skill. We will explore empathy as is exists in the many and varied relationships in which we and our students find ourselves (student collaboration, student-supervisor relationships, client relationships, and our relationships with third parties such as witnesses, opposing parties, etc.).
Session Speakers
Boston College Law School
Concurrent Session Speaker

Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Concurrent Session Speaker and Coordinator

The University of Michigan Law School
Concurrent Session Speaker

Suffolk University Law School
Concurrent Session Speaker

University of Minnesota Law School
Concurrent Session Speaker

Boston University School of Law
Concurrent Session Speaker

Session Fees
  • Empathy: More Than a Feeling: $0.00