Professor Wagner Outlines to Law School Conference How Students Can Learn to Find Correct Answer to Legal Issues

Professor Barbara Wagner

With the exception of a bar exam, oftentimes there is no single correct answer to many legal questions. That possibility surprises many students, Professor Barbara Wagner said in a panel discussion at the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in San Francisco. She told attendees at “Student Assessments: Tips and Tricks from the Trenches” she uses multiple performance exercises to help students understand a right answer for a clients may depend on a client’s specific situation, tolerance for risk, and experience in similar situations.

Professor Wagner and others on the “Why Transactional Law Matters” panel concurred that students often have little knowledge of what transactional lawyers do. An ABA task force on defining competencies for business lawyers she co-led will report this winter that transactional lawyers and litigators apply different mindsets and skills. One difference, she said, is litigators are concerned with what happened whereas transactional lawyers focus on what could happen if certain strategies or methods are pursued.