Here is what we believe and what we set out to test: Wisdom is not an innate character trait; no one automatically is wise; and wisdom is learned and acquired. More importantly, one can learn and acquire wisdom intentionally and skillfully-one can practice it. And, if the practice is structured in particular ways, the practice will improve one's capacities to act with wisdom. For lawyers, and even more so for law students, that should be heartening. For legal educators, the ability to improve one's capacity to act with wisdom should be a call to action.
We set out to discern the best conditions a legal educator could use to actually cultivate wisdom in law students. As a starting point, we needed to refine what kind of wisdom we were striving to cultivate. We chose to situate ourselves within the Aristotelian tradition, which embraces the idea of wisdom-in-action, or "practical wisdom." Practical wisdom is dependent on the particularities and context of the specific choices made or problems solved. It does not remain aloof or removed from the facts on the ground. Practical wisdom does not try to abstract itself from context. Furthermore, and critically, practical wisdom always attends to the normative valence of context, thereby also mooring itself to higher order values.
Cantrell, Deborah J. and Sharpe, Kenneth
"Practicing Practical Wisdom,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 67:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol67/iss2/4