Bond University

Article Title

Meet MIRAT Legal Reasoning Fragmented Into Learnable Chunks


The ubiquitous aim of legal education is for students to learn how “to think like lawyers”. It has often been noted that this is a frustratingly imprecise educational goal. Nevertheless, some students stumble upon, or methodically work out, an analytical style of thought, writing and speaking which is rewarded at law school by nods, ticks, high grades, scholarships and envy. “Thinking like a lawyer” is also a depressingly inaccurate goal as we know very little about how the many sub-cultures of lawyers think, speak or behave. In the writer’s limited experience, most lawyers think, speak and write in layers of styles and street cunning which often obscure the foundational analytical style (rightly) emphasised in foundational legal learning. What is this analytical style of expression that is a part of the behaviour of many lawyers? Certainly it is a deviant style as most lawyers tend to stand our so quickly in a meeting (and not only due to their confidence, motor vehicles and dress patterns). In colloquial terms lawyers’ contributions to any discussion tend to be exact, argumentative, insightful, reserved, balanced, evasive, obscurantist, precise and uncommitted. 4 Can the learning process at law school towards these much admired, sometimes despised qualities, be demystified? Behaviourist or task analysis approaches to education are creeping into law schools mainly via the current interest in learning “skills”.