Law School Discussion

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Messages - Esq

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41
Actually, I always recommend reading the cases and attending every class. I just couldn't resist taking a jab at the old casebook. But I still think that if you read the E&E before the course, you have been exposed to a little more of what a particular topic is about. Therefore, you pick more up in the lecture than you would without having read it. You should go back to the E&E examples and refresh your recollection of the issues and fact patterns as the course goes along, but that is just part of studying. 

42
Well, my first rule would always be do what works for you.  But I guess I don't understand this "context" argument (don't read E&E until you have the "context").  I think the E&E Contracts has several chapters in the beginning that set up the context of Contract law. Whether one prefers the Nutshell series to the E&E series is a matter of taste--sort of like, I prefer a mango over a pear. Personally, I preferred the E&E series to the Nutshell series.

Now, some seem to be arguing that until you've experienced the "context" from the CASEBOOK and the SOCRATIC METHOD, E&E is a waste of time. My experience has been that most people hated the casebook and socratic method. But everyone is entitled to their views.  May I take those who hold the view that early reading of the E&E books is a waste of time to be endorsing the casebook and socratic lecture as their favorite way to learn the law?

   


43
Reading at least one or two of the Examples and Explanations books such as Contracts or Civil Procedure before the first semester helps some people. Don't try to memorize them or make an outline. How your particular professor teaches the course is really what you need to focus on. However, I don't think it hurts to read them. I mean, I've never hear anyone say, "I read the E&E Contracts books before I took the course, and I just learned it all wrong!"

I understand the argument that it's really all about the particular professor who is teaching the course, but if you have read these books before class, some people, at least, will be better "listeners" in class for having read them. It helps with note-taking.

 

44
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Fear of never passing The Bar
« on: October 15, 2005, 04:15:36 PM »
I think that if you want to practice in DC, you have to pass three bars: DC, VA, and MD.

I am not certain, but I don't think that you have to pass three bar exams in order to practice in DC. If you have more information, please post about it.  Here is a link to information about the DC bar exam. Also, for anyone else interested in the state-specific requirements for all state bar exams, the link has information about those as well.

http://www.barbri.com/states/dc/index.htm

45
Where should I go next fall? / Re: corporate law career
« on: October 15, 2005, 12:18:52 PM »
Good luck to you too.

46
Where should I go next fall? / Re: corporate law career
« on: October 15, 2005, 12:01:19 PM »
Biglaw (BIG law) n. 1. A term that implies law firms with national influence and multiple offices including international offices. Generally, these law firms have over 500 employees. For example, Akin, Gump has over 2,000 employees. Akin, Gump would qualify as BIGLAW to nearly everyone in the world except the LSD poster "NOBLE" who does not believe Akin, Gump meets the "best definition" of BIGLAW. Please remember that Noble's opinion is the "exception to the general rule."

47
Where should I go next fall? / Re: corporate law career
« on: October 15, 2005, 10:57:23 AM »
Oh really? Why don't you write them and tell them that. Be sure to put your law school's name on the letter and carbon copy your career services office. Happy job hunting. 

48
Where should I go next fall? / Re: corporate law career
« on: October 15, 2005, 10:46:11 AM »
So are you guys saying that at a non-top school, it would be harder to get a job in corporate law as compared to private practice? Oh and it's not a stupid question b10bwn. I meant to find out which schools have better connections to careers in corporate law as opposed to just preparing you for private practice. But it is kind of stupid to make a post just to say somebody's question is stupid.  :)

I like pointing out stupidity, although since you have clarified yourself here, I retract my comment.  Still, its safe to say that the answer to your question is pretty obvious if you are one to believe USN&WR rankings.  I'm of the belief that where you want to practice is just as important in deciding where to go to school.  Face it, everyone can't get into Yale, and once you get past the top schools, its all about where you want to practice.  I don't think any school prepares you more for corporate or private practice.  After your first year, you tailor the classes around what you are interested in.  Pick a school that is right for you, and if it is not a top school, pick one that has a good rep where you want to be.  If you want to do biglaw in NYC, don't expect to get there by going to St. Mary's.  It's probably not going to happen, but you will probably be able to get a good job in San Antonio, and further away like Dallas and Houston if you do well.




Well, if some graduates of St. Mary's had listened to part of the comment above they wouldn't be partners at Akin Gump in New York (the definition of BIGLAW) and at Verizon Communications (also in New York) and many other firms in New York. Furthermore, I guess there were some people that would have said don't expect to get nominated to be on the U.S. Supreme Court if you go to SMU law school.


 

49
I've been checking in from time to time, but now that everyone's pretty much decided where they are going to go, I haven't found as many of the topics posted as interesting as they once were.  When the new crop of undecided posters comes through, maybe that will change.

I apologize for the length of the rest of this rather long post.

You raise a good point about tradition. As I read that guy's blog above, I thought about how the legal profession really frowns upon specialization. The whole thrust in law school is to make you a generalist. The idea--some may say, the myth--is that after you graduate law school, you should "think like a lawyer." Therefore, you should be able to pick up any legal subject, and with some study, be able to competently practice that area of the law.  The reality, of course, is that clients have to pay for every minute you're working on their case, and they are not too keen on paying for you to learn how do something you've never done before. Let's face it, that can take a long time, and time is money. From the client's perspective, I'm sure they are thinking "didn't you learn how to do that in law school?"

Many times I have seen law school graduates shake their heads and say how they wished their law school actually taught them HOW to do something. You might have had it beaten into your head that after the time for a Defendant to file an answer to your lawsuit has come and gone, and if no answer has been filed, you can move for a default judgment.  But how do you do that--
move for a default judgment? What does a default judgment look like? How do you "prove up" the damages? Most lawschools don't teach you that.

More than a century ago, when Harvard lawschool set up the core classes and the Socratic method and created the casebooks, the legal educational system moved away from the older methods of teaching the law.  The older way involved serving as an apprentice for an attorney. Harvard wanted the law degree to be more than just a "vocational" degree. The study of the law had to be "scientific" and "professional."  Most law professors at other schools were scandalized to learn that Harvard was using instructors that had never practiced law a day in their lives to "teach" Contracts and Torts through the Socratic Method. But Harvard's method of instruction has lasted more than 100 years now.  Most law schools still follow that model. You are taught to be a generalist in the law.   

Now, with the rest of the modern educational system, the whole trend is toward specialization.  Academics all tend to want to specialize in a subject and be known as the authority on THEIR area. Today, we see law professors want to make names for themselves, but it's hard when the great casebooks on Torts and Contracts have already been written. The tendency, then, is to find another less studied area of the law and dig into it. But then, what about the students who face the problem of the bar exam? The bar exam does not test on the esoteric, or "special" subjects. It tests on the basics. It's a minimum competency exam. I agree with the Sardonic Lawyer that after graduating from an ABA accredited law school, shouldn't that feat alone be evidence of minimum competency?  But the reason we have bar exams is because law schools don't teach you to be minimally competent in the practice of law. 

In this regard, the modern legal education really is at cross-purposes with itself.  The "sardonic lawyer" comes down on the side of supporting having a bar exam because of what he perceives to be a failing in modern legal instruction.  Because the institution has failed, the student is left in the position of having to pray that he passes.   

50
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with this guy, but I thought he made some interesting points about the modern legal educational system.



http://www.blogdenovo.org/archives/001042.html

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