Law School Professors Team Up to Teach ‘Law[yering] and Science’ Skills Workshop in New York

New York Bridge

Sarah Cooper, Professor of Interdisciplinary Criminal Justice at BCU Law School, and Visiting Professor in Comparative Justice at BCU, Lissa Griffin, teamed up in January to co-deliver an interdisciplinary skills workshop to US law students at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, where Professor Griffin is a tenured Law Professor.

Professors Cooper and Griffin, who have collaborated for nearly 10 years including within the Law School’s Centre for Law, Science and Policy and Centre for American Legal Studies, designed the workshop based on their collective research expertise in law, science, and professional skills.

Science Literacy for Lawyers

The workshop - Law[yering] and Science -introduces US law students to disciplinary differences between law and science, with a view to developing their science literacy skills, including how to identify and appraise scientific sources to strengthen legal arguments, and appreciate implications that can emerge from law and science having different aims, methods and vocabularies.

The workshop presents case studies involving intersections of law and science, including the different approaches taken by law and science to prove if a vaccine caused harm; the extent to which developing neuroscience informs law-making about the criminal culpability of juveniles; and the legal implications of emerging scientific techniques, such as the use of genetic ancestry databases by law enforcement. Throughout the workshop, legal and scientific experts joined the group to discuss their experiences of interdisciplinary working. This included BCU PhD graduate and STEAM Scholar, Dr Rose Tempowski, who shared her PhD research, which developed a unique model for grading the quality of scientific evidence presented to US state legislative committees.

Professors Cooper and Griffin said:

Student Feedback

Student feedback on the workshop was overwhelming positive, with all students saying they would recommend the class to their peers and had taken away important lessons for their legal careers. One student commented it was “the best skills workshop course” they had taken.           

To learn more about research centres at BCU School of Law, please visit: Research - School of Law.

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