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…

Cut the Bar in Half and Provide A Masters for Dropouts
Law School Reform , Law Schooled Evolution / 27 de agosto de 2017

Those pursuing lawsuits against New York Law School and other law schools have noted refund tuitions as part of their end goal.  However, tuition refunds instituted throughout all law schools may be an impossible dream, considering that a policy like this would undermine the law school business model. Instead, I would like to propose two reforms to the law school system that would necessarily require our support, the school’s support, and a change in ABA regulations.  These types of policies could help combat some of the problems students face from the front end instead of in retrospect with lawsuits and demands for tuition refunds.  Now then, let’s shake hands and attempt to make a deal here. 1. During 1L year, we generally learn a broad array of subjects tested on the Bar:  Contracts, Property, Constitutional Law, Torts, Criminal Law (aka 1L core courses) and writing courses (though for some schools skills/electives also may be included, and one or two of  the aforementioned courses may happen during 2L or 3L year instead of during the first year). Let’s imagine that all law schools and the ABA decide that the core courses (of Ks, Property, Torts, Crim and Con Law) were requirements for all first year law…

Paradigm Shift: A Prospective Law Student’s Perception of Law School
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

The lowered numbers of students taking the LSATS seemed to indicate a change in awareness among prospective law students.  However, most of the articles out there focus on the law school tuition bubble bursting, but none really look into the pre-decision process – the way prospective law students have begun to think. While the following lays out the reasoning of just one student who went through a pro/con list of JD versus MPH and cannot represent the general public at large, it is interesting to see how he analyzes the benefits of law school compared to, for example, my reasoning process of “to go or not go” four years ago. As a bit of background, the following prospective student graduated from Berkeley and spent a few years working before considering his options. Q:  So why public health and not law school? [1] Cost – I didn’t have any debt b.c. my parents graciously paid for undergraduate. But, I couldn’t justify going into debt and not having a strong job prospect post-graduation. The NYTimes articles were eye openers and hearing from my own friends who were law students about their own job prospects also influenced my decision.  [2] Job Satisfaction/Quality of Life – I talked…

Intersectionality is not optional.
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

If my experiences are anything like the average in law school, half of you will never have heard of “intersectionality”, and most of you who know what it means won’t have used it in the past two or three years that you’ve been in law school.  Very basically, intersectionality is the concept that describes the way in which oppressive modes of society (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) interact.  A person can be privileged (as a cisgendered man) while also being underprivileged (as a gay man, or a person with a disability, for instance).  Intersectionality demands that we examine all the ways in which we are advantaged and disadvantaged, and no matter how misunderstood we think we are, that we shut the hell up and think when we’re told we’re being hurtful to a disadvantaged group. Are you getting irritated yet?  Do you think I’m talking down to you?  Just wait, I’m going to get worse. Because I don’t care about offense.  I care about harm (to paraphrase this blogger here).  You’ll get over the fact that some blog writer called you a dumb racist.  In fact, getting defensive when someone tells you that you’re acting in an oppressive way is natural!  You can use…

Finally! Progress!…April fools!
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

The Bitter Lawyer recently posted about how the ABA is undertaking an “ambitious tuition refund initiative” where certain law schools will offer their students severance packages to leave school, or for recent graduates, a refund for time already served. According to bitterlawyer.com: The plan—which reportedly includes two phases known informally as “clunk” and “cull”—involves issuing tuition refunds of up to two years to both current law students as well as unemployed graduates from participating schools. In the “cull” phase, expected to begin as early as May 15, participating law schools will request voluntary “drops” from their 1L and 2L classes, in return for which the schools will issue full tuition refunds plus an unspecified “life adjustment stipend.” The amount of the stipend will depend on a number of factors, including geography, prior work experience, and family demographics. The “clunk” phase is expected to begin in September and will provide up to two years of full tuition refunds to recent law grads who have not secured “full employment” in the legal profession within 23 months of graduation. Details of what is meant by “full employment,” however, have not yet been released, nor is it known how far back the plan will look. Authorities close…

Some Concrete Proposals for Incorporating Skills into Law School
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

1.  Offer professors grants to incorporate skills traininginto their classes.  $5k to teach a skill – drafting, oral arguments, legislative advocacy, whatever they’ve got in their back pockets.  Make this be X% of the student’s grade on top of the final exam.  This is already being done at one top tier university.  Why not others? If the professor has never had a real lawyer job and can’t offer skills to their students, consider option 2 below. 2.  Instead of hiring or rehiring the $450,000 scholarific, publishtastic acrobat, hire 5-6 (want out of their job, have burnt out of their jobs, or are out-of-luck, laid-off from their job) attorneys with years of real world experience to teach clinics or actual skills courses.  Cut up the $450k into 5-6 salaries and looky looky, $70-90k might sound mighty nice, considering the current job market.  Hey!  Why not hire 7-8 new professors who have had actual work experience . . . even better. Put these have-had-actual-work-experience lawyers through a “professor bootcamp workshop” and give them flexibility in how they conduct their courses.  Let them learn through trial and error, and require them to conduct multiple class feedback forms so they know what methods to use in order…

Why doesn’t law school teach us to pass the Bar?
Law School Reform / 27 de agosto de 2017

How in the world did this happen?  I worked hard.  I did well.  I soon will graduate from a top tier law school.  I didn’t spend frivolously, yet here I am.  I thought I paid my dues, taking out loans for three full years of law school, all that time in the library learning the law, figuring out how to “think like a lawyer,” thinking my investment was worth something, yet, here I am now, considering borrowing more money in order to be able to pass the bar. Why do I need to borrow more money in order to pass an examination of basic and minimum competence in the field that I have dedicated my life to for three years? What you don’t know when you start law school is that when you finish, you are expected to pay either Kaplan or Barbri (those are your only two choices) thousands of dollars to prepare you for the state’s minimum competency exam for lawyers.  No one tells you that this is just a part of the cost of becoming a lawyer. Before entering law school, it doesn’t make sense to you to even ask about the cost of bar prep courses because you…