Persistence, Performance, and Law School: Implementing Interventions to Encourage Growth Mindset, Maximize Education, and Ensure Practice Ready Professionals


At the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, we have observed evidence of “fixed mindset” in our students as early as the first week of the first semester. A fixed mindset is associated with a tendency to get discouraged and question one’s abilities, whereas a “growth mindset” is associated with resilience and persistence in the face of challenges. Although the idea of growth and fixed mindsets in education is not new, applying these concepts to the law school environment and law students is new. Drawing upon the expertise of Dr. Omid Fotuhi of the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, we are using quantitative and qualitative methods to understand what happens to our students, from their perspective, which could put them in a fixed mindset—at what point it occurs and why. We are learning whether there is something about law students or legal education that makes our students particularly prone to fixed mindsets and sensitive to academic stress. Working with Dr. Fotuhi, we will use our understanding of our students’ experience to implement interventions designed to promote adaptive mindsets, student engagement, and course enhancement. Our ultimate goal is to create a supportive institutional environment that fosters a holistic and personalized approach, tailoring our engagement to individual students, helping them to achieve their academic and career goals.


Leigh Argentieri Coogan