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Abstract

This article ... tackles the task of identifying the cognitive components of legal thinking. The article begins this task by discussing the development of modern law school pedagogy, which gave rise to the emphasis on thinking like a lawyer. The article then considers current conceptions of legal thinking which have divided the skill into cognitive and practical components, and it examines why the cognitive components remain at the center of the skill. The article then surveys empirical research on legal thinking by examining recent research on personality and learning styles as well as research on law student and lawyer surveys. The article next analyzes the cognitive skills tested by the paradigmatic examinations relevant to law school and lawyering, the Law School Admissions Test ("LSAT") and the bar examination. The article then draws upon these previous sections to delineate and discuss specific components of legal thinking. In this discussion, the article references numerous resources that have analyzed the components of legal thinking, and it examines the results of a survey on legal thinking given to 250 law students at Regent University School of Law.

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