Legal socialization in law school: the effects of two types of professional identity formation

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationAcademic


In law schools, students develop a new, professional identity. While some students enjoy consonance between their personal identities and the professional roles they encounter in law school, others suffer from identity dissonance. This makes it particularly important to understand the ways of socialization that are employed in law school. In this paper, we argue that two types of legal socialization can be distinguished. First of all, a socialisation-type that currently dominates in the (mostly American) literature, which we refer to as the ‘socialization by modelling’. Secondly, we demonstrate that there exists another type of legal socialization, which we refer to as ‘socialisation by reflection’. This is a type of socialisation that we observed in education via problem-based learning at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam. Based on empirical research we describe the occurrence of the latter type of socialization. We, furthermore, suggest that this second type of socialisation fosters a more explicit and reflective socialization process, which, in turn, may mitigate identity dissonance and facilitate a more inclusionary approach.
Period10 Mar 2022
Event titleJaarcongres/Annual Meeting VSR (Vereniging voor de Sociaalwetenschappelijke bestudering van het Recht / Dutch-Flemish Law and Society Association) : Social-scientific perspectives on rights and responsibilities
Event typeConference
Conference number2022
LocationLeuven, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational