Dear Law Schooled,
Roughly speaking, medical school consists of two halves:
The first half is learning theory in the classroom, and the second half practice in the hospital ward.
In the first year of medical school, you learn about the normal body and its function, with courses bearing names such as Gross Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology. By the second year, the curriculum shifts focus to things that can go wrong with people, and medical students learn Pathology and Infectious disease.
During the third and fourth years of medical school, doctors-to-be are occupied with the clinical clerkships, which introduce the basic concepts of practice in the major concentrations within medicine.
Students will “rotate” through many different clerkships, spending about two short months getting to know a little about Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Pediatrics for example. After the clerkships are done, the medical student chooses a specialty.
Aside from the obvious, what makes a doctor so different from a lawyer? Or more importantly, why is the basic structure of med school different than law school?
Doctors, with an oath to “do no harm” to their patients, have mandatory clinical clerkships where they “rotate” gaining experience in a variety of fields in order to take the next step to practice as residents. Yet, lawyers, with a code to “zealously advocate” for their clients, are expected to practice without any “legal clinical rotations” and without a “legal residency program”.
So, how is it that after the “first half”, the doctor moves from theory to practice, but for lawyers, the “first half” often is it. That’s it. Theory. The majority of us as law students face a curriculum that transitions us from theory to theory, not theory to practice.
But, we’re all supposed to be training to be professionals, right? Or, not?