Reconsidering Legal Pedagogy: Assessing Trigger Warnings, Evaluative Instruments, and Articling Integration in Canada’s Modern Law School Curricula


  • Richard Jochelson
  • James Gacek
  • David Ireland


Law schools are rethinking the form of instruction and the means of delivery, a discussion now at the fore of legal education. This pedagogical picture is not complete without understanding students’ fidelity to the human and social experience of law school. To further understand student experiences, a voluntary online survey was distributed to 103 first-year law students. Our findings on the use of trigger warnings, the use of 100 percent final examinations, and the integration of articling and clinical-based skills in law school education present an opportunity for law teachers to reconsider curriculum reform and conventional legal education. Legal curricula ought to contextualize law in its social impacts and this includes recognizing student experiences of trauma and vulnerability in the law classroom. Further, this recognition develops and supports important clinical skills, including participation, group work and deployment of empathy in legal settings. By recognizing student sensitivity and by implementing multiple assessments and skills-based learning and training, we argue that educators and students can work together towards common goals which benefit both the teaching and the learning of law.