Quote from: Thane Messinger on March 30, 2010, 12:35:27 AM* Recently I had a student who said, in so many words, "I don't understand this assignment. Can you explain it?" Mind you, they didn't say "This part of the assignment is unclear. Does it mean x or does it mean y?" Professors are, generally, willing to help. But they are also quite sensitive to simply giving the answer. They are even more sensitive to giving the answer to someone who has no intention of actually working for it. In this, their response is exactly what it will be in the world after law school. (Much kinder, actually. Try this even once in law practice, and your next loan payment will likely not match up with the missing paychecks.)While this might no doubt get me into trouble, here's the student's email:A question what is our individual assignment I think i am missing out on something on the understanding what needs to be done. Because I am use to writing A paper if you could help me under stand the individual assignment due ? Please help!!!!!Any thoughts out there? Tell me how y'all would have responded, and I'll post the actual response. = : )Thane.PS: This email was sent the day the assignment was due.
* Recently I had a student who said, in so many words, "I don't understand this assignment. Can you explain it?" Mind you, they didn't say "This part of the assignment is unclear. Does it mean x or does it mean y?" Professors are, generally, willing to help. But they are also quite sensitive to simply giving the answer. They are even more sensitive to giving the answer to someone who has no intention of actually working for it. In this, their response is exactly what it will be in the world after law school. (Much kinder, actually. Try this even once in law practice, and your next loan payment will likely not match up with the missing paychecks.)
I think a lot of kids act like that because they still didn't fully understand the difference between law school and college. Many just assume that professors will spoonfeed them all the things they need to learn. To Thane: what is your opinion about schools with high attrition rate? Some of the newly ABA-approved schools have ridiculously high rate, some 30~40 percent of their first year class. How do you explain then the smaller, less well-known state schools that have very low attrition rate? I am really curious what you think about these matters.
So your a prof posting students emails?
so would you say that one person who would have passed and did okay in one school could possibly fail out due to harsh grading curve in another school? you say the applicant pool has been changing (they are better qualified to study law) but how do you justify measuring one's ability to study the law by their LSAT score? I mean, LSAT is purely logic and reading comprehension stuff, and I don't believe most law students find these parts very hard about law school. The hard part, like many of your comments explain, is making sense out of what you learn and 'understanding what is going on', right? I understand the author of PLS feels very strongly about these matters. Heck, I would have felt the same way if I had to quit law school due to the grading curve.
Thank you for the comments. I still have some doubts though. If what you are suggesting is THE approach to be followed, why don't so many law students know about them? Why do so many professor discourage students from studying law before law school/ using supplements? Is this some kind of conspiracy or what? If a professor can expect a lot of students are left guideless, why don't they ever try to help these students by explaining things a little more (not the substantive law, but perhaps how we should approach these materials)?
Hello Thane! I just had few general questions.1. This may sound repetitive, but would you say that it's possible to ace law school exams without ever cracking open your casebook? I don't doubt that using supplements to learn the BLL is the best approach, but the reality for me, and everyone else still is, that we have to read and be prepared to answer questions when called on. How would you, as a lawyer and professor, advise a student to deal with these seemingly contradicting approaches? (How much time should be spent with studying cases? Also, you mention the danger of using canned briefs in your book. But isn't this contradicting to what you say earlier about ineffectiveness of doing your own case briefs?)
2. We often learn both the common law approach and the modern approach regarding specific application of doctrines. I often read something like 'CL approach is so-and-so and is different from the modern approach because....' But isn't common law different from one jurisdiction to another? How can all the CL approach be the same? Does this mean the CL approach that was used in England was all same in the entire country at the time?
3. I am thinking about buying the Planet Law school book. Before I order it, I just wanted to ask you what would be the difference between your book and PLS?
As always, your comments are extremely helpful for all of us. I really appreciate it. and also, you can be verbose in answering questions. We could always listen to more words of wisdom coming from a law sage like you.