Document Type


Publication Date



Studying law is in many ways like studying another culture. Students often feel as though they are learning a new language with unfamiliar vocabulary and different styles of communication. Throughout their legal education, students are also exposed to a profession comprised of unique traditions and expectations. As a result, learning law takes time and energy. It can be both engaging and frustrating and may even challenge some of students’ values and belief systems. To ease her students’ transition to law school, the author starts her course each year with a “culture box” exercise, which encourages students to examine who they are, what they think about the law, and why they want to pursue a law degree. These culture boxes can be tangible boxes containing physical objects or can be pictures and representational objects, verbal descriptions, quotes, words, family stories or narratives of important events, as the students choose. In this article, the author describes how she guides her students to prepare their culture boxes, discusses the way in which the exercise celebrates the diversity within her 1L class, and offers ideas on how others may use this technique in their classrooms.