Emotions of studying law put under the spotlight

Nottingham Law School (NLS) has launched a study into how more feeling can be injected into legal education, after research found that studying law can lead to “emotional disturbance”.

Researchers from NLS, part of Nottingham Trent University, are looking at ways in which discussion of student emotions can be embedded into the curriculum in a bid to reduce stress among aspiring lawyers.

Law lecturer Rebecca Huxley-Binns, who is conducting the research as part of a larger US study, said that law often leaves students feeling stressed and detached from their studies to an unusual extent.

She said: “Our experience tells us that highly motivated students tend to do better but as student numbers are rising across the country, feelings of isolation and insecurity are increasing. Today’s students are assessment-driven and the majority of law schools are turning out very knowledgeable but disengaged graduates; students learn what the law is, not how to feel about it.”

But not everybody is welcoming the study. Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) student Paras Juneao said: “You can’t teach someone to feel – this study is a bit too hippie for my liking. I wouldn’t say anyone on my course is emotionally disturbed.”

The research is due to be completed in early 2010.