Law School Discussion

I utterly detest OSU law

I utterly detest OSU law
« on: September 07, 2005, 01:21:50 PM »

I must disagree with the writer of "well-rounded law school."  This is not so much because I dispute the facts themselves but simply that my experiences here at Moritz in the last two years have been highly negative.  I see burnout and indifference towards peers on one side and competition among the elite journal editors, moot court officers, and other extra-curricular head honchos who are also indifferent towards those not in their "clique" or social circles.  I see little social mixing.  The few times I have tried to speak to people, the response has been lukewarm or at best superficial, and I have been both alienated and isolated here for more than two years.  The others seem predominantly conformists, former frat boys and sorority sisters, and with limited crossover.  There is a divergence of wealth among the students, as well, some driving shiny new cars and others with none at all.  Yes, I admit that I am somewhat jealous and biased.  Many of us simply bury ourselves in work for lack of anything else to do.  Socially, the school feels cold and uncaring to me.  There is a drinking culture among the law students here.  Most out-of-school events seem to involve alcohol and law students (not to mention lawyers) purportedly have high drug and alcohol abuse rates.  Even the law firm events seem to have open bars.  I believe that the stress level is generally unhealthy here.

The professors seem friendly in person for the most part, but with a professional distancing from the students.  For example, one rarely sees them in the lounge.  More often they are in the smaller coffee bar across the street in the union.  Their exams run the gamut as well, so the strict curve is an evil necessity to equalize their varying difficulties.  However, this adds to the atmosphere of competition.  I believe there is a "criminal law" type after having a number of crim professors' classes:  They tend to have sizeable egos, seem to like hearing themselves speak, get a big kick out of  knowing or mastering specific schemas and systems of rules and correcting you when you confuse the details, and to some extent, seem to enjoy the power of correcting every little thing on papers and exams (and marking you down as a result).  This is not simply because I dislike the crim law classes here:  In fact, they are among my favorites, and my grades have been on average equal[ly bad] in comparison to other classes.  Academically, the first phrase that hits me when I consider the academics is: mind-numbingly boring.

Also, the law school is very isolated from other departments on campus.  The law professors tend not to mix at all with professors from other schools, which is a pity given the vast potential resources for academic and personal enrichment at OSU.

I wish more than anything that I had dropped out in my first week or two of classes here.  With only one more year to go, I intend to finish, leave the state and never look back, assuming I can find a job, which is itself subject to doubt.

This part is not OSU-specific:  In my opinion, nobody should go to law school expecting to make friends.  Only people who are certain about the decision to become lawyers or have other reliable plans for post-graduation should matriculate.  The Socratic method at worst seems more like a game of "guess the phrase I'm thinking of" with the professor, especially during the first year.  Surely academia is better, if it is simply an advanced degree you are after.  I should have gone to grad school.

I do not know whether other law schools are equally miserable or whether in fact it is simply me and lack of suitability for this environment.  I did not grow up in Ohio and am no great fan of the state, but I did graduate from high school here and attended a well-regarded liberal arts college as well, so I am sure my problems with law school do not relate to academics or want of basic intelligence.

Re: I utterly detest OSU law
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 06:33:22 PM »
You seem a little bitter.  Also highly unrealistic.  Who ever thought that going to law school was going to be fun?  I honestly feel that OSU faces the same challenges (stressed, competitive students) as everywhere else, but have found most people to be very friendly and willing to help each other.  I wonder who you've managed to talk to. 

Admittedly, I have more fun spending time with friends outside of the law school.  But, that's because I don't want to always think about law, not anything against the students here.  I'm highly involved and have found it quite easy to join things and be accepted.  I'm sorry you haven't found your niche. 

Furthermore, I take classes outside of the law school, belong to outside organizations, and have many friends in different academic areas outside of the law.  I have not found it prohibitive.  You just have to make an effort to leave the building.  Professors are more than willing to talk to you, but, as it's a big school, you have to visit them, or join organizations they're involved in, or start up a conversation.

I'll admit career services is attrocious.  No one should expect to get a job through them, unless of course they are top 10%, and those students have offers thrown at them.  That's my only gripe.  That being said, I've been able to find my own jobs, but like everything else, I've had to put in the effort.  Hope everything improves for you!     

Re: I utterly detest OSU law
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2005, 04:11:19 PM »
Sounds like you just found a place that doesn't work for you.  I did grad school and although I enjoyed my studies, I just never "clicked" with most of my fellow students.  But in law school I'm having a blast with some really great friends.  It would probably be useful for you to categorize some of the things that make the enviroment wrong for you so that when you are looking for an employer you can be concious of finding a better fit.


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Re: I utterly detest OSU law
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2005, 06:42:35 PM »
Speaking as a 1L here, I haven't had the same experience as what you've described. Most people are very friendly, and I haven't had a problem meeting people. While the social events DO always seem to center around going to a bar, there is the bowling and softball league.

I wouldn't doubt there is burnout among the people who went to law school without really knowing why. I am friends with a few people who I would expect will not last long simply because they don't know why they're here, and to study the amount required to do well requires a huge amount of motivation.

As for the professors, I've enjoyed all of mine so far and think that they're very high quality. I can see what you're saying about crim law though, some of them do tend to lord over the class a bit too much, but I guess it's to be expected after a certain number of years teaching the same thing over and over using the socratic method.

I would guess that your problems lie with what you already know to be true--the environment isn't for you. The core of your problems seem to stem from an inability to make friends for whatever reason. If you had a few friends to suffer with and vent your frustrations at, then I think we both know you wouldn't have had such a bad time.