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Author Topic: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method  (Read 26456 times)

jacy85

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2006, 12:50:36 PM »
wikapedia isn't a very reliable source.  My friend created a bogus legal term for civ pro, knowing that another guy in our section used wikapedia for everything.  The entire entry was a joke, and we all had a laugh when the guy was like "*&^%, when did we cover "special jurisdiction!?!"  The guy realized an hour later that it was a joke, and my friend then marked the entry for deletion.

An editor/webmaster at wikapedia decided that the entry was NOT a joke, and kept it up.  I'm not sure if it's still there, but the fact that they thought it was legit puts must of what is on wikapedia in question.

If you're going to rant and rave in an attempt to inflate your ego, at least use reliable sources to back up your crackpot theories.

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2006, 04:01:47 PM »
I think my writing is anything but a rant or a rave - you are using those words incorrectly.

You can attack Wikipedia, and it certainly has its flaws, but the "Fake Civ Pro" entry says more about the kind of people you and your friends are than it does about the sources I rely upon.

I do not blindly follow Wikipedia, I actually read the entries critically. 

I imagine what bothers you more is not so much my reference to Wikipedia, but that you can't debate the entry itself.  Did you even read it?  Or are you just lashing out at Wikipedia to discredit it, and only providing an anecdote that makes you and your friends look like law school jackasses than it does question the reliability of an encylopedia.

Since you are that lazy, I will post it here.  If you challenge the defintion on Wikipedia, it would be one thing.  Instead you just try and discredit the source.  More troll methods.  Grow up, and use your intelligence - it's time to stop arguing like a teenager.

In fact, what are you arguing against?  Do you have a point of view on this thread, or are you just on here to argue against Me?  I welcome it because each time a person leaves a ridiculous post that only attacks a postor he knows nothing about, it illustrates the ridiculous level of public discourse in the country.

Thank you for providing illustrations of what's wrong with Americans today - all attacks and no ideas.

Socratic Method:  [Supposedly] Typical Application in Legal Education


Socratic method is widely used in contemporary legal education by many law schools in the United States. In a typical class setting, the professor asks a question and calls on a student who may or may not have volunteered an answer. The student's answer stimulates other students to offer their own views, thus generating a wide range of opinions and exposing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

The answers usually become increasingly refined as each is built upon the previous ones. Then the professor moves on to the next question, often without authoritatively answering the first one, and so on. It is important to understand that typically there is more than one "correct" answer, and more often, no clear answer at all.  [This last sentence is true, they leave you wondering - but the dynamic discussion and refining of facts rarely, if ever happens] The primary goal of Socratic method in law schools is not to answer usually unanswerable questions, but to explore the contours of often difficult legal issues and to teach students the critical thinking skills they will need as lawyers.

The class usually ends with a quick discussion of doctrinal foundations (legal rules) to anchor the students in contemporary legal understanding of an issue. For this method to work, the students are expected to be prepared for class in advance by reading the assigned materials (case opinions, notes, law review articles, etc.) and by familiarizing themselves with the general outlines of the subject matter.


Chris Laurel

P.S.  I've heard that "Fake Civ Pro" thing before - be original, as opposed to claiming a shop-worn law school urban legend as your own, beyotch.

"I'm not sure if it's still there" - Because it would take sooooooo long for you to check instead of telling the entire world "I am speaking about something I do not know if it is still true."  Dude - the Internets were supposed to make it easier to back yourself up.

plumbert

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2006, 01:14:41 AM »
Well, I've got a prof who not only calls us "Mr So-and-So" and picks us at random for about a ten minute grilling, but also makes us stand up the whole time. Isn't that basically Socratic?

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2006, 03:29:40 AM »
Definitely.  The standing goes *way* too far; I know many people who could not handle that, and I'm surprised the Dean of your school hasn't told him to stop.  That sucks!  Additionally, it is another example of how little respect is paid to law students by professors, admin and exam proctors.  By din of our admittance to law school, we deserve respect - it is difficult to get in, and many of us are proud of our own accomplishments.  It matters not they pale in comparison to someone thirty years our senior. 

But the random calling on a student, changing and refining the facts to get them to critically think about it, encouraging other students to talk and debate.  Very little of that goes on.  I do not mean to say it never happens, but rarely. 

Yet that method of instruction is best suited to how we are tested.  Frankly, I think professors have become too lazy with teaching.  The only way they are measured is by their research and the articles they publish.  It rarely matters if a brilliant mind makes a crap teacher.  As long as the name is there, the school is happy.  As long as their research gets them tenure, the professors are happy.  The ones paying insane amounts of money are the least considered in the mix.  As long as we pay our tuition.

The ideas I propose--TAs and more tests--are meant to alleviate pressure, not to lessen work.  Testing us more better educates us - it incentivizes preparation.  If your first test is only 25% of your grade, then doing poorly is a red flag to find out what went wrong, without sacrificing your career options before you can figure out what you did wrong.  Law school exams are unique, and it is illogical our grades rest on our first "real" attempt at them.  The brightest will continue to do well.  We all know the feeling that we don't know if we really get the material at times, especially if a supplement contradicts the prof.  TAs are more approachable and can spend more time explaining the concepts.  Especially since they will not TA for other classes.

I don't want things easier, I want them more accurate.  More tests is the only way to do that.  One test, at one moment in time, is inherently flawed.  It is absolutely ridiculous in year-long courses. 

In my first year no professor held a broad, substantive review of their year-long course.  Of course, that takes preparation and time away from research.

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2006, 01:01:50 AM »
Look, all students deserve respect, and you deserve to demand it from your professors, from the administration, from your fellow students, from your exam proctors.

Stop pussying out - you all are paying for the education.  Once they let you into the school, demand respect, if not solely because YOU GOT IN!  You deserve it!  Demand it!  What?  You think they'll kick you out or something? 

Why do law students acts like sad slaves who must put up with how they are treated?  You people are some of the best and the brightest in the country, and yet you all act like you deserve this disrespect.  I don't get it.  When you really think about it, do you?

And demand Accuracy in Grades!  Demand more tests.  Demand TAs.

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2006, 01:32:46 AM »
How do we do it?  We stand up for ourselves!

Look, the baby boomers have screwed this country up.  Our economy, our political discourse, our social security, our medical doctor residency programs, our drug laws, our social darwinisim.

The fact is, the system gets perpetuated because those who succeed at it are the ones who continue to control it.  In other words, the kids on law review have little reasons to make the system more fair "Whew!  Well, I don't have to care anymore!"  (except when they realize how miserable they will enjoy life outside of school - mark my words)  But most of us know that the best and brightest are not necessarily the ones who succeed.

Here is how to change it in the immediate future:

1.  Be informed.  Know what you are talking about, and be confident.

2.  Whenever disrespect occurs, whether in front of a class, by an exam proctor, by the registrar, you let them know that you deserve the very respect an ATT customer service representative would be expected to give you, dammit.  At the very least!

3.  If you think something is wrong, speak out about it.  Why are we all a bunch of jellyfish who take whatever we are told to take.  This is how fascism took root in Nazi Germany.  No comparison, but still - get some spines. Stop being told what is good for you.

4.  Demand reasonable working hours.  When I say reasonable, I DO NOT mean 9-5.  I mean less than 60 hours a week.  And I don't mean during tough transactions and cases, just as the norm.  Why is that nuts?  Why are we expected to shove our bodies in the meat grinder of the corporate machine?  You people only have one chance to live in the body you live in - and if you don't know how important it is, than take George Bush Sr's chief election strategist's words.  He died of brain cancer right after his greatest victory:

My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring -- acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul. -- Lee Atwater, February 1991 article for Life Magazine

5.  Use your heads.  If one exam doesn't make sense to you, then what does?  Come up with your own solutions.  I am not necessarily right.  I've come up with a solution based on what I have seen and experienced.  Maybe it computes with you, or maybe your school is different.  Point: think for yourselves.   And NEVER think that the status quo is the best.

6.  Don't be afraid to contact your deans, your professors, your administrators, and let them know you think things can be done better. 

AND REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!


Out of the mouths of babes
Dec 20th 2005 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition


Prepare to deal with some fairly surly young people

A SURF through the “Student Debt Yearbook” on the Student Debt Alert website reveals plenty of hard-luck stories. Lauren at Arizona State University expects to graduate in 2007, $60,000 in debt. Asked what she is most looking forward to then, she replies: “Law school and more debt.” Sarah graduated from Columbia University this year owing $90,000, while Jason will leave Los Angeles City College in 2008 some $10,000 in the red.

The whingeing student is a feature of political life the world over: in America, despite rising tuition fees, they have been relatively quiet. That may change now that Congress has agreed to slash their subsidised loans. A deal reached on December 18th means that, if the current budget package gets through Congress, student-loan programmes will suffer a net cut of $12.7 billion over the next five years—the biggest cut in university funding since the Higher Education Act was initiated in 1965.

The package is a complicated mixture of savings, spending increases and accounting gimmicks. The Republicans point out that the bill generously provides $3.75 billion in new grants for disadvantaged students studying mathematics, science and foreign languages; that they have spent $1.5 billion raising loan limits for students; and that they have tried to cut subsidies for lenders, not for students. But $15 billion of the gross savings of $21 billion in the bill come from higher fixed interest rates and fees for borrowers.

The Democrats are predictably grousing that the Republicans are driving poor people away from college just to dole out tax cuts to the rich. Student PIRGs, the group behind the debt website, claims that more than 60% of undergraduates finish with some federal debt; and nearly 40% of these borrowers contend with “unmanageable” debt levels, meaning their payments are more than 8% of their monthly incomes. And those who do a stint in graduate school end up even more in debt.

Much of this is grandstanding. For the vast majority of Americans, a college education is a good investment: their post-university incomes are considerably higher (even allowing for their debts). But there are some legitimate worries.

Tuition fees have been rising fast: they are now four times higher in real terms than they were in 1975, according to the latest annual report from the College Board, a group of higher-education institutions. If you add in various necessities, such as books and room and board, private-college students (around 16% of the total) fork out $29,026 a year, while their peers on four-year courses at public colleges pay $12,127. Many states have cut the money they give public universities, pushing more of the costs on to the students. And with ever more Americans wanting to go to university, colleges have been able to hike prices.

Rising demand is certainly a sign of health, but high fees present a challenge for poor Americans. Costs put off 48% of qualified high-school graduates from attending a four-year institution, and 22% from attending any college at all, according to a study by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance in 2002.

The level of Pell grants, the main programme for low-income students, has been frozen at a maximum of $4,050 for the past four years; and its eligibility guidelines were changed last year—with the effect of excluding 81,000 young people and reducing grant money for another 1.9m. The new $3.75 billion for maths, science and language students will help, but critics say the conditions are too strict.

Another group with a legitimate gripe are students who go on to low-paid professional work in the public sector. Careers in social work, education and the worthier sorts of law all normally involve several levels of tertiary education, but the typical salary for graduates entering such public interest professions was just $36,000 in 2002. A recent survey of over 300 juvenile-dependency attorneys in 43 states by the Children's Law Centre of Los Angeles, found that more than half of the lawyers owe at least $50,000 in student loans, and nearly a third owe $75,000.

The Republicans have indeed clamped down on subsidies for private lenders, which provide around 75% of student loans. Banks have done extremely well, thanks to a fixed formula for profits and a guarantee that the government will cover 98% of a student's debts. One particularly egregious subsidy, dating back to the 1980s, allows banks a return of 9.5%—well above current interest rates. This loophole will now be closed, saving the government $1.8 billion over the next five years.

Lest you feel too sorry for the banks, many other subsidies remain. Indeed, some of the cuts in earlier versions of the bill did not make it into the final language. Cynics note that last year the Chronicle of Higher Education traced nearly $1m in campaign contributions from the student-loan industry to members of the House education committee.

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2006, 01:50:53 AM »
I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2006, 01:15:05 AM »
The Third-Year Dilemma:
Why Firms Lose Associates
January 4, 2006
WALL STREET JOURNAL


This is the first installment of The FLaw, a new column about law-firm management, with a particular emphasis on the miscues, peculiarities and strange customs of law firms.

At their best, the country's largest law firms are magic-workers. They slip mergers past antitrust watchdogs, unlock revenue from dusty patent portfolios, yell "Duck!" as the Eliot Spitzers of the world are nearing mid-punch.

But when it comes to solving their own problems, big law firms aren't exactly Penn & Teller.

Take, for example, a problem currently roiling Big Law, one we might call the Dilemma of the Third Years.

According to a study unveiled last year by the NALP Foundation, a group that examines law firm hiring trends and practices, law firms have little trouble hanging onto their youngest lawyers -- only one percent and 14 percent of entry-level associates leave their law firms by the end of their first and second years of practice, respectively.

But a whopping 37 percent of associates at big law firms, defined by the study as those employing more than 500 lawyers, quit their firms by the end of their third years of practice.

Taken alone, the percentage might not seem so troubling. Like other professional services firms, law firms are, in the parlance of organizational management, "highly leveraged." That is, they need vastly more associate worker bees -- the 20 and 30-somethings who handle the mountains work generated by a big lawsuit or merger -- than they do queen-bee partners, who on any given matter, mostly map strategy and draw up long to-do lists for others to carry out. In other words, associate attrition isn't a problem, it's a necessity.

But another statistic casts the 37 percent figure in a different light. According to a study released in 2003 by Altman Weil, Inc., a Newtown Square, Pa.-based large consultant to law firms, the average big law firm doesn't start recouping its cash flow investment in an associate until about midway through an associate's fourth year, around the time most start acquiring the skill and confidence to run their own cases and deals.

The costs associated with premature attrition don't end there. When too many associates bolt a given firm during that third year, firms have to replace them with lateral hires, which, according to the NALP Foundation study, runs about $300,000 per associate. Says Dr. Larry Richard of Hildebrandt International, Inc., a Somerset, N.J.-based consultant to large firms: "There's no slush fund for those expenses. You're really just sucking money out of the partners' pockets."

For managing partners everywhere, then, the goal is well-defined: Figure out how to keep more lawyers around until at least about midway through their fifth years, ensuring at least one profit-making year of work from each associate. Firms that can do this will also escape the hefty costs of hiring replacement laterals.

Can law firms change the status quo? Maybe. But first they'll have to unravel an increasingly entrenched idea among associates that they've got to figure out the rest of their careers by the end of their third years of practice.

Manfred Gabriel, a fifth-year associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in New York, says firms start to demand more of associates in their third years. "At that point, the perception seems to be that it's time to ask yourself whether you want to commit yourself to the firm -- maybe make a run at partnership," he says. "If not, it's a good time to leave. You've learned how to do some things, but you're not viewed as someone past [his or her] prime." He left his first firm, LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, as a third-year associate.

Professional recruiters play a big role in the third-year exodus, mostly by fostering a sense that associates have a limited window of marketability." The headhunters started calling early in my third year," recalls Jennifer Boatwright, who left a Milwaukee-based firm for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Dallas in September at the end of her third year of practice. Ms. Boatwright says she and her husband had long considered moving to a warmer climate, but the headhunters dictated the timing of the switch. "They told me that if I hadn't moved by the end of my fourth year, it would be nearly impossible to move" at all, she recalls. "I have no idea if that's true, but it certainly got me moving."

But it's the law firms themselves, not aggressive headhunters nor commitmentphobic associates, that deserve the lion's share of the blame for creating the Dilemma of the Third Years. According to David Maister, an author of several books on management at professional services firms, law firm partnership used to be something young lawyers aspired to. Not anymore. "Partners hate their lives," says Mr. Maister. "They're overworked and stressed out and slaves to the billable hour. Lots of associates see this first hand and can't run away from it fast enough."

Take the experience of Julia Hesse. Last year, Ms. Hesse left Boston's Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP for Ropes & Gray LLP at the end of her third year of practice even though the move cut her chances for partnership. At Ropes & Gray, a firm of 700 lawyers, seven associates made partner last year. "I don't want to be a partner," says Ms. Hesse, "and I don't know a single associate [at Ropes] who wants to make partner." Ms. Hesse says that Ropes's deep health-care practice, which promised good experience and introductions to a healthy roster of outside contacts, enticed her to Ropes. Bradford Malt, Ropes's chairman, agrees that partnership is tough to make at the firm, but boasts that "the experience and training a young attorney gets at Ropes is among the best in the country."

Given the problems associated with partnership, might law firms attack the Third Year Dilemma by reforming at the top?

A trickle are starting to. Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, for example, launched a "balanced hours" program in November to try to, in the words of Peter Kalis, the firm's chairman, "stop the bleeding" away of young lawyers.

Mr. Kalis stresses that the program -- which allows any lawyer to meet anonymously with an organizational sociologist and devise flexible working schedules (subject to the firm's approval, of course) -- is meant for both associates and partners. "Very few partners of AmLaw 100 firms are financially deprived," he says, "but a lot of them are still unhappy."

Happy partners, in Mr. Kalis's view, will solve the Third Year Dilemma and ultimately make for a more profitable firm. "When the people above you are happy, it has a tendency to rub off," he says. "And when associates are happy, not only are they more productive, but in my experience, they stay at your firm."

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com

giffy

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2006, 10:13:26 AM »
I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 

You already posted this example in another thread. Honestly is this the only example you have for the incredible lack of respect at law school. Bet ya made it up. Probably not even in Law School.

Chris Laurel

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Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2006, 10:54:48 PM »
You know, when someone has to tear another person down based on assumptions, it shows they have no ideas, no ability to debate the issues, and probably lacks the intelligence.

"I bet you don't go to law school"
"I bet you are from Nebraska"
"I bet you are arrogant"
"I bet you made crappy grades"
"I bet you made that up."
"I bet you go to a crappy school"

I bet you guys don't know how stupid you all sound trying to figure out irrelevant characteristics of a postor instead of sticking to the issue.  This is the problem we face in this country:  people attack instead of think.  Attack my ideas, not made up notions and facts about me personally, which you can never really know for certain. It's true - you have no idea if I am in law school or not.  So what?  Debate the ideas with me and let's see if you have the knowledge to keep up. 

Go get some ideas and educate yourself on the issues, instead of trying to shoot fish in a barrel.  Really.  Every post that you guys put up like that just makes me look that much smarter.  Because you have nothing to say.  I take it as a compliment you think it is worth your while to read all that I write and then make flacid attempts to respond about me.  Would you like a date or something?

I wanted to start a thread devoted to that one issue is the only reason you see it repeated.  "I bet you aren't smart enough to have considered that."  I can say that because, you know, you haven't really evidenced much intelligence on lawschooldiscussion.com.

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html