Law School Discussion

What's the Point of Law School?

What's the Point of Law School?
« on: March 31, 2009, 04:58:06 AM »
I've been reading Bar review supplements like BarBri and you review all of this law before taking the bar.  If anything, these books teach it more effectively than our professors.  Moreover, I'm amazed by how much important law our professors don't teach us.

Thinking like a lawyer?  As long as you're anal with a bit of analytical thought, you're golden. 

Useless wonkery?  There's plenty of it, but we're not interested in the distributive consequences of allowing subcontractors to revoke a bid before it's accepted by a contractor.  I don't want to be an academic.  If I really gave a damn, I would have enrolled in an Econ PhD. program and written a law-heavy thesis.

Reading cases?  You can learn to read a case in two or three months.  Furthermore, cases are incredibly ineffective for teaching the law, which is mostly why we use them.

Exams?  Exams are a game.  It's all about your performance on a one-day issue-spotter.  It's the most irrelevant skill ever.

Class?  Yeah, the Socratic.  That's real useful.  Now I can waste thirty minutes of my time daily while some kid tries to answer some unanswerable question like, "Where is Judge Traynor on your pantheon of great judges?"  Or listen to my professor hem and haw about Cardozo.

Prestige?  If you consider grinding through thousands of pages and reducing them to several key points to be "prestige," then be my guest.  I can see why clerks hire the people with the best grades.  All anyone cares about is will over skill grinders that can sit in a chair and research for hours.  Yes, these people are smart, but it's a specific intelligence type that has little to do with everyday notions of intelligence, and law school simply obfuscates it by getting you to think that there's anything more to it.

Matthies

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 07:32:21 AM »
The point of law school is changing the way you think, unfortunately the way its taught and tested are counterintuitive to that (focus is on grades and memorizing BLL). But more importantly and specifically itís a hoop you have to jump through.

There has been talk for decades of making law school two years because most agree the third year is a waste of time. Why hasnít anyone implemented it? Tradition. Law school attracts people who like things the way they are, then we are taught the importance of precedent, we learn that the law has evolved to what it is today based on rules 100s of years old.

Law students join LR, moot court,take mostly bar classes, get a summer job working at a firm, join X club because thatís what everyone did before them. If somebody does something different, studies differently, takes unusual classes or otherwise deviates from the standard path it makes your classmates uncomfortable and you will get a backlash because thatís ďnot the way its done.Ē (see what happanes on here if a student gives non tradiditonal advice about LS) The presuure to confrom is pretty great so it resists change based on tradition.

Lawyers, law professors, and law students donít like change, they donít like change in the law and they donít like change in law school, we do it the way we do it because we have always done it this way (at least since Langdell). The point is most of what we do in law school is not because itís the best way to learn or teach the law or create good lawyers its simply because thatís how we have always done it, it is tradition - they did it, so we must do it too.

sheltron5000

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 11:06:13 AM »
Also, it's a really good way to keep people who are relatively undedicated out of an disproportionately powerful profession. we like it difficult because it keeps lazy bumblers out.

bl825

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2009, 12:12:49 PM »
To take a large number of liberal arts majors out of the work force, thereby reducing the number of entry-level workers and driving up wages.  :)

sheltron5000

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2009, 12:35:15 PM »
lolz!

Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2009, 12:48:25 PM »
So deep.

Matthies

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2009, 01:18:58 PM »
Also, it's a really good way to keep people who are relatively undedicated out of an disproportionately powerful profession. we like it difficult because it keeps lazy bumblers out.

See if you still belive that after you have spent a year with your new classmates

Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2009, 01:34:02 PM »
Wow, both OP and Matthies... great posts.  I agree completely with both of you.

M_Cool

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2009, 02:29:04 PM »
Definitely agree about cases.  When is there going to be a primary text that uses cases merely as learning tools and is written more like a supplement?  "Law students" over a hundred years ago read Blackstone, which is basically a supplement (and honestly, if you have ever glanced at it, it does a better job at teaching legal material than cases by far).  Why have we taken a step BACKWARD?

Talk Is Cheap

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Re: What's the Point of Law School?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2009, 02:32:12 PM »
Wally, I couldn't agree with you more.

"What's the point" is a question I ask myself every day. Of course, there's no time to ponder it because there are cases to be read, mock briefs to be written, etc. etc.