Thursday, September 24, 2020


Article Index


While all types may perform well in law school, it is predictable that (I), (N), (T), and (J) types may have a relative, if not significant, advantage. Introverts (I) deal intensively with concepts and ideas. Intuitives (N) work with abstraction, symbols, and theory. Thinkers (T) prefer logical analysis. Finally, judges (J) plan, focus, and organize their work. Consequently, the study of law matches the interests of those preferences. However, grades are much more than a matching of interest. They are the end product of the interaction between aptitude, application, interest, and persistence. While type theory and data can help explain achievement, it is not a full explanation. Consequently, it would be a mistake to use type theory for either admissions or to predict success of particular students. However, information on type can help professors in their choice of teaching methods and in the variety of study aids they choose to make available to their students. It can help students become better self-learners by helping them to plan their learning to maximize their abilities and interests.

If law schools are serious about conforming legal education to known educational theory, law schools must do more than to take a sink or swim attitude toward student success. Law schools must understand which factors contribute to student learning and which do not. While understanding learning styles is not a cure-all for the ills of legal education, it is a start toward helping the student become a better self-learner. Legal educators could use the MBTI to help students maximize the learning experience by: (1) helping them to understand how they learn best; (2) by helping them to understand how the learning environment differs from their preferred learning modes; and (3) by helping to determine activities and behaviors to maximize their learning, notwithstanding any learning style differences. Understanding learning styles can help legal educators understand the thought processes of law students who are quite different from themselves. Despite the favoring in legal education of a particular type, the practice of law needs: people who prefer acting without getting bogged down in reflection (extraverts); people who prefer giving attention to details, facts and reality of the situation (sensing); people who prefer making judgments based on the underlying value implications (feeling); and people who prefer spontaneous and flexible environments (perceptive). It is the responsibility of legal education to assure those characteristics in the profession by facilitating the learning of all types.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law