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Author Topic: Does anyone think class rankings are the wrong way to measure students?  (Read 2583 times)

bigs5068

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Re: Does anyone think class rankings are the wrong way to measure students?
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2010, 05:05:35 PM »
That is a good point Morten. I can see the things you learn lasting long term opposed to helping you appear competent for a few weeks. In regards to Ken's post yes there are classes that can help you and I intend to take as many of them as I can. I am also not even half way finished with law school so maybe that has something to do with my being unsatisfied with the practical training. However, one post here mentioned a dentist who said he was not comfortable for a 2 years or so. That CPA's do not do large audits right away. That is true I would not expect a freshly licensed attorney to handle a murder case. However, if I was a lay person and someone had just been admitted to the bar I would want them to know how to draft a complaint, or oppose a motion, just some basic things. I imagine the CPA's once they are admitted could handle a traditional families tax return and a dentist would be able to do a routine cleaning. I know a ton of theories in civil procedure summary judgment, intervention, motions to strike etc, but at this point in my education I would not really have any idea to actually apply these things. There is a class called practical legal writing you are required to take in your last semester and maybe they will teach us those things, but I think in Civil Procedure for example you should be required to write these motions and actually do something. It is great to be at a party and explain to a friend how they have the right to intervene in a lawsuit, but if they actually wanted to do it at this point in my education I would have no idea where to begin. I would imagine these types of motions are not even that difficult to learn and you could learn the basic requirements in a few weeks. It would be cool if schools could get together with the courts and require studetns to draft these things and figure out to get them into court. It coudl all be hypothetical and it might be a waste of resources, but the schools might be able to offer the courts some compensation for this type of program. At my old job I remember having to file stuff in court and it not being quite as glamorous as law and order made it out to be. I really think before being certified as a lawyer you should have to experience that at a minimum.

kenpostudent

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Re: Does anyone think class rankings are the wrong way to measure students?
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2010, 05:35:14 PM »
You can find examples of all of those motions on Westlaw. You will learn most of that stuff in either pre-trial litigation, in trial advocacy, or in a clinic. You just haven't gotten there yet. The other way you learn this stuff is through clerkships and externships. At a clerkship, you'll see examples of all the various motions filed by attorneys, some good, some very bad. So, you'll see the practice of law from the court's perspective. You'll get the same from a judicial externship. If you do an externship or an internship with either a law firm or government agency, you'll see all of it from a client perspective. I'm not saying that any of the options listed above will prepare you for the practice of law, but all of them together will help. Except for a clerkship, you access to all of the above while in law school. You'll apply for clerkships right at the start of your third year. Law school is really meant to teach theory and not practice. Maybe all law schools should require 30 credit hours of clinics. Unfortunately, they do not. My law school makes 6 credit hours of clinical education available, but it is not required. No more than 12 credits of externships can be applied to the graduation requirement. This is frustrating, but if a student does a clinic and maxes out their externship hours, they'll have 18 credits of practical education. Then, you can always work over the summer or during your third year. Ample opportunities exist to get practical experience while in law school. Don't fret that you are only learning theory now. The theory drives the practice.

louiebstef

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Re: Does anyone think class rankings are the wrong way to measure students?
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2010, 08:33:47 PM »
Ken,

That sounds like a common-sense way to approach the problem.  As a non-trad (with paralegal experience), I am absolutely geared toward practical clinical and clerking experience, should those opportunities become available to me in LS.

As for now, 0L status is my wonderful position, LOL.

"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

jack24

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Re: Does anyone think class rankings are the wrong way to measure students?
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2010, 12:16:54 PM »
Clinics are so tricky for law schools.  On the one hand, clinics can teach law students some practical skills and give them great connections to the real world.  On the other hand, these clinics sometimes do a poor job of training students.  Practical classes taught in law schools can be terrible as well. 
If a student works hard and gets a great paid internship, he can't earn credit for it (at least at most schools)  The student has to choose between volunteering somewhere and complying with clinical requirements, or getting a paid internship.   It's not as if the paid internship won't provide great experience just because the law school isn't involved.   A law school clinic is just another way for the law school to charge you money without providing any service at all.

I've now worked with three different legal employers.  I get the impression that all of them are looking for hardworking and talented individuals who are willing to be molded.  These employers are fine with training attorneys on the job as long as those attorneys learn quickly and retain information.

I'm certain that my current boss would rather I spend time taking classes and honing my reasoning skills rather than receive sub-par clinical instruction from some random adjunct.  As a matter of fact, I imagine my current employer would prefer I be able to drop out of 3L now, take the bar, and work full time.

The truth is, most candidates learn far faster on the job than they do in the classroom.  This leads people to prefer clinics, but why not just prefer jobs that don't cost tuition money?  Law school performance can be a good measurement of how quickly someone can learn and how much information they retain.  And I think most employers are okay with that.