“A course on career paths”
Law Schooled Evolution / 27 de agosto de 2017

Professor Paul Horwitz on PrawfsBlog posts a few promising ideas for improving law schools.  His suggestion for a “course on career paths” interests me most after having had recent conversations with friends in law school who do not wish to pursue law as a career.  Let’s read Horwitz first and schmooze later: “1)   A course on career paths, something Cassidy reports is frequently offered in MBA programs. This would serve two purposes, at least. The first is the one Cassidy suggests: to prepare students for increases in job mobility over the course of professional careers. The second would be more immediate: I often hear from students who are interested in pursuing particular professional paths but feel their school gives them too little information, and too late, about what to take, and/or that the course schedule is organized in a way that makes it difficult to pursue a targeted curriculum. I think students can and should change their minds about what they will do as lawyers even during law school, let alone having to deal with some mobility after law school, so too much microtargeting too early can be problematic. But we should at least make their choices and options clearer, and make sure…

Do you “think like a lawyer”?
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

A recent Law Schooled podcast included a section where the three student podcasters discussed the consequences of learning to “think like a lawyer”.  One student made an interesting point about being able to use this amorphous phrase as a justification for teaching methodologies. Short Clip from the Podcast that Inspired this post:  “Think like a Lawyer” All three students admitted to being clueless about what “think like a lawyer” meant, yet this is not the least bit surprising.  After looking into Reframing Legal Education’s “Wicked Problems” by Judith Wegner, it seems like professors and students generally do not agree on a single definition for “think like a lawyer”.  Here’s my take on this flurry of semantical, romantical fun. The phrase “think like a lawyer” cannot and should not be defined.  It should be tossed out altogether, and goals should be clearly stated. Some of the thoughts on what it means to “think like a lawyer” that both professors and students described in “Wicked Problems” do not overlap at all, and often they conflict to the point that when highlighted, they show a muck of a mess of a “Who’s on first? What’s on second?” Really?  Should our legal education, and especially first year curriculum,…

“I write better when I’m drinking” Wait! So, we were right all along?!
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

Confession.  I’ve had these conversations with other students at various levels of schooling.  Kindergarten.  College. Law School.  It’s always the same: “I write better when I have a little to drink” or “I study better with beer” or “Five shots equals five cite checks” or ”I learn the alphabet faster when I have a bit of gin” LOL!  Yes.  Don’t deny it.  We all “L.O.L.” And then after we “L.O.L”, we slink off to our apartments to drink and write papers, isolated, cold, shivering, and alone. As it turns out, a new study (and we know we can always trust new studies), shows that drinking has a correlation to creative problem solving.  Professor Fruehwald, with yet another interesting post, highlights the good stuff: “Lead author Professor Jennifer Wiley of the University of Illinois at Chicago discovered that alcohol may enhance creativity problem solving by reducing the mind’s working memory capacity, which is the ability to concentrate on something in particular.”  “Research from thecurrent study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition also found that people who drank alcohol and had a blood alcohol level of 0.07 or higher were worse at completing problems that required attentional control but better at creative problem solving tests.”  “The…

The Rankings Trap: What can we do to break the vicious cycle?
Law Schooled Evolution / 27 de agosto de 2017

Two posts by Professor Mark Osler on Law School Innovation have provided suggestions for how law schools can finally remove themselves from the iron, maniacal grip of the US News Rankings.  His proposals are provocative and pretty awesome: 1.  HE CALLS FOR YALE TO DROP OUT OF THE US NEWS RANKINGS He points out how Rankings create the wrong incentives and are poor indicators of what schools actually do.  His suggestion is to urge Yale to drop out of the Rankings.  A commentator on his post further recommends that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford should lead the way and drop out of the Rankings.  Like a domino effect, this could lead to all schools finally freeing themselves of the iron grip of the Rankings.  I believe this could work. However, the only problem would be that Harvard, Yale, and Stanford do not have any incentive to drop out because they lead the rankings and so (rightly or wrongly) feel they reap the rewards of being at the top. 2.  HE ASKS LAW SCHOOL LEADERS TO LEAD BY DROPPING OUT OF THE RANKINGS BASED ON A PLEA FOR ETHICAL LEADERSHIP “While in Washington last week for the AALS convention, I was able to hear…

Unicorns or Ligers? Law school for under $2500/yr with no curve?
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

Once upon a time, in a distant and mystical land, law schools offered students affordable tuitions, a collaborative atmosphere, and training programs after graduation as part of the requirement to become an attorney. And, in this land, law students paid $2320.61 per year to get a law degree.  Aspiring lawyers entered law school right after high school, getting a bachelors and a masters, requiring at most only 5 years of tuition payments for both undergrad and law studies!  Plus, if a law student chose to work really hard, they could finish everything in 4 years! At these magical law schools, there was no curve, and students sent each other all of their notes from the semester with glee: “Want all of my notes from the semester?  Sure, no problem. Want my outline?  Of course.  Right away.  Sharing is caring after all”. The students studied to master knowledge of the material rather than to beat each other’s scores, and the motto was: “If I get a high score on the test, that’s great, but I really hope everyone else does well too!” By the time graduation rolls around and students consider their job options, they don’t choose a job to pay off…

Teacher as Therapist?
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

Recently, a friend sent me links to a few articles from The Faculty Lounge:  ”Counseling Students – The Socially Awkward Student“,  ”Counseling Students – The Student Who Has No Idea Why He Went to Law School“, and “Counseling Students – The Student You Immediately Know Is Wrong for Law School“. The central question of the three articles was: When, if at all, should professors intervene and act as counselors to their students? “The big problem is that you have an adult who is lost in life. Law school was an easy option, so it was taken. At some stage, this kid is going to have to sit down and think hard about what matters, identifying values and goals. Once that is sorted out, the onion can be peeled down a layer to the level of careers. Until that work is done, though, I don’t think much real progress will be made. I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind of guy who is all that good at guiding people to epiphanies about the purpose of life, and yet I don’t see that lack as a reason I shouldn’t be teaching law.” – Comment by “Softie”  The articles, posted by…

Strategy, Skills, and Students – Professor Fruehwald’s Response
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

Recently, Law Schooled asked Professor Fruehwald of Legal Skills Prof Blog to comment on recent Law Schooled postsinspired by him.  He offered us a thoughtful response to one of our author’s questions (“Supply and Demand for Skills Courses:  Some Clarification Please“) about how to move forward in our efforts to gain more skills training as part of our legal education. “You the students are the consumers.  You need to make your preferences known to your administration.” – Fruehwald  R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I want to highlight an incredibly important piece of advice that he gives us as we move forward to organize and take action.  Be respectful and intelligent.  Yes, we may be frustrated.  But, resorting to the “F. You” models of many law student blogs out there now and in the past, focusing on targeting individuals, and complaining without creating strategies for student action will accomplish what? Boomerang!  And, then boom, we’re back to square one. STRATEGY AND TACTICS Say we take the strategy of previous law student bloggers: 1.  We could pretend to be on a Hunger Strike or do something similarly attention-grabbing and drastic, though looks like this didn’t make much of a dent in bringing students into reform efforts or bringing about reform at all. 2.  We could post a never-ending stream of hateful posts, blaming deans,…

Supply and Demand for Skills Courses: Some Clarification Please
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

When reading Legal Skills Prof Blog‘s post on some steps we students can take to increase skills courses at our schools, one tip sounded both promising and confusing: 3.  Take as many skills courses and clinics as you can. If students take more skills courses and clinics, your law school will have to hire more skills professors and offer more skills options. This may have to do with the fact that I avoided business school and medical school because I have a certifiable phobia of numbers, but, I gotta ask:  How does this work? Say, all of us students go in for skills, clinics, and externships during our 2L and 3L years.  Our demand for these courses overwhelms the supply (as it does already right now at my school) but to the point that only some are lucky enough to get into the skills courses available.  If more and more of us sign up for these courses, will our law schools really be forced to hire more skills professors and offer more skills-based courses, or will more students just be lotteried out and put onto wait lists?  How does this whole thing work behind the scenes?  I ask, because I really…

Becoming a Reality TV Show Contestant – The Curve
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

This post covers two situations when the Curve, already the Ebola Virus of law school culture (yes, you bleed all orifices), can transform you into a contestant on “Survivor” or the “The Bachelor” (not that I would ever watch those shows, because I’m a sophisticated law student). Complex Calculus and Metaphysical Physics:   CURVE + LAW STUDENTS = CHAOS AND MADNESS Peer Alliances, Game Theory, and Targeting the Strongest Students In a class of 30 students, where a large percentage of the grade is determined by peer review of presentation performance using evaluation forms, you slowly but surely realize that you are transforming into a contestant on the show Survivor. Your first inclination is to create alliances with your peers.  You gingerly approach what you see to be a mediocre student and say:  “I’m going to give you a 10 on your presentation (before the presentation begins)…  I just know you’re going to do a great job, and did you see Stacey working on her presentation yesterday?  She’s definitely the strongest presenter.  It’d be best if we formed an alliance, don’t you think?”   You do this a few more times, and then boom!  You’ve got your alliance. After you and…

Expanding the Role of the Student in Law School Reform
Law Schooled Evolution / 27 de agosto de 2017

In a recent post on Legal Skills Prof Blog, Professor Scott Fruehwald offered a number of ways that law students could improve their law school experience.  His post has some excellent links, especially if you’re a law school reform effort geek/junky (definitely check out #1 and especially The Carnegie Report).  You ought to be able to find the report at your school’s library, and if you do a Lexis/Westlaw search with “Law School Reform,” you’ll come up with a lot of super neat articles referencing the report. The following lays out a few steps to consider as we continue to be Law Schooled: Step 1 – LEARN THE RULES OF THE GAME AND KEEP READING LAW SCHOOLED AS WE LEARN TO NAVIGATE THIS SYSTEM WITH YOU Since you have loads of spare time as a law student and may be searching for some light beach reading, 240 pages of The Carnegie Report doesn’t sound all that bad.  (Don’t worry, you can find summaries about it online).  But really now, go ask your favorite professor, career services office, or Dean questions like:  How do decisions about tuition get made?  Where does our tuition go?  What are your limitations in getting X done?  And, then follow…