Read the rest of this post . . . .In previous posts, Breaking the elitist stranglehold and Legal academia's rookie combine, I have touted, with variable degrees of directness, the work of Howard Gardner. In works such as Frames of Mind (1983) and Intelligence Reframed (1999), Gardner identified no fewer than eight manifestations of multiple intelligences:
I question whether this combination of linguistic and logical intelligence is enough. It is far more prevalent than we legal academics might care to admit, because these are some of the most widely distributed and easily evaluated forms of intelligence. Absent tragic circumstances, every human exposed to speech masters it. Moreover, aside from mastery of phonology, morphology, and syntax, the ability to recognize aural and visual patterns is probably the species property of Homo sapiens, like heat detection in pit vipers or echolocation in bats. Top-ranked law students are freaks of nature in this respect, and their instructors are even more so.
But all too often, freakish analytical talent falls short. When it is paired with abominably stunted development in intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, we get the ingredients for a faculty member so monstrous, so odious that the academy and the profession would benefit from her or his absence. That is the extreme case. The far more common (and much more difficult) situation involves a would-be professor who has mastered everything asked of her or him during law school but exhibits none of the spark and the commitment that would ever justify a lifetime academic appointment.
Success in the legal profession hinges on many forms of intelligence. Graduates at the bottom of their classes often excel in real-world settings that put a premium on attributes that law schools ignore or even denigrate. Every law school should prepare its students to master as many of the forms of intelligence that translate into professional success. For this reason alone, to say nothing of advancing faculty excellence or the collective knowledge base available to legal academia and the legal profession, I believe that it is entirely reasonable to press faculty candidates in ways that reveal their intellectual curiosity, creative propensities, and social intelligence — the very attributes overlooked by the academy's devotion to analytical acumen.