“Legal judgment, assessing actual risks, and problem solving are more often taught implicitly through legal practice in clinics, than explicitly as discrete skills.”
Deborah Maranville

As legal education attempts to implement an approach that systematically moves beyond issue spotting, we bump against the limits of both our knowledge and our curriculum. Consider the third and fourth tools in the Five Tool Lawyer framework:

Tool #3: “Use legal judgment to assess actual risks with spotted issues.”

Tool #4: “Problem solve for best way to meet client’s needs with minimal risk.”

How much do most lawyers know about how to “assess actual risks”? What does it mean to “use legal judgment” to perform that assessment? Continue reading

“How much should a student focus on learning more substantive law in order to facilitate issue spotting and how much should they focus on developing the skills needed to develop the other four tools of a five tool lawyer?”  Deborah Maranville


The “five tool lawyer” immediately captured my interest as both a highly compelling metaphor and a potentially incomplete and misleading one, at least for law students thinking about their careers, and law schools contemplating their curriculum.    Compelling, because it moves beyond issue spotting v. problem solving to articulate the stages of problem solving, targeting a spotlight on often overlooked aspects.  Incomplete or misleading, because it compresses so much into stage 5, and, to a lesser extent stage 1.    Continue reading