Connecticut Law Review Volume 45 - Issue 4

What’s Going On? The Psychoanalysis Metaphor for Educating Lawyer-Counselors

In this Essay prepared for the Connecticut Law Review’s 2012 Symposium on legal education reform, I propose an alternative to the dominant metaphor of “lawyer as warrior” for educating the many lawyers whom clients will seek out as counselors even at early stages in their careers.  My preferred metaphor is “lawyer as psychoanalyst” because it invokes the need for lawyer-counselors to understand clients’ idioms and meanings, or more generally “what’s going on” beyond the mere analysis and application of the rules of positive law.  Like lawyers, psychoanalysts learn a technical discipline (whether or not either discipline constitutes a science) but need to apply it non-technically in the process of counseling patients.  I consider implications of the metaphor for lawyer-counselors and their education, concluding with some preliminary and modest suggestions about how reflection on the “repressed positivistic” and “courting surprise” might benefit our students in the “what’s going on” aspect of client-centeredness.

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