Part V: What I Would Change About Law School – My Final Law School Outline
I fully realize that I’m pretty powerless here. But it’s fun to fantasize – that is, what would I change if I could wave a magic wand and change law school? Here’s part V of my VI part review of law school.
What would I change? Wow. Lots.
Here are the hi-lights:
1. Shorten it – it really should only be 2 years full time, or 3 years part time. If you really, really want to keep the 3rd year full time and 4th year part time, it should be full of PRACTICAL training in the REAL WORLD. It’s too long. This last year has been a LOT of deja vous….and my time is limited on this planet. I don’t like Groundhog Day rewinds.
2. LSATs: kiss them goodbye – one really doesn’t need to take a LSAT. It’s about as worthless as other standardized tests. My SAT score was bad. Yet I still managed to get through college. Same with law school – LSAT score was bad, but I still managed to get through law school. (Well, most of it anyway – I still have 3 final exams to finish up before I’m officially “done.”)
3. Moot court should be required – this is one of my regrets – I didn’t participate in moot court – but then again, it was for little credit hours and “optional” during law school. Should it be? I don’t think so. But it also needs to have some CREDIT attached to it so those of us trying to finish a degree have a chance to plug some hours in and get it done. Litigation is just another skill that is important to explore in law school.
4. More extra-curricular activity – I should have done more of this. Although we managed to found a new law society during our law adventure, I still don’t think it felt like enough. But seriously–when you’re working full time and going to school darn near full time, extra curricular activity turns into stuff like “grocery shopping” and “paying bills,” not starting a law society. I wish law schools would help the part time students with this more.
5. Yearbooks – do schools still do yearbooks? Not sure. But it would have been nice to have a list of the graduating class, what they each wrote their papers on (we have a writing requirement to graduate) and what area(s) of law they have an interest in working in and around, so I can find them later on when they are out in the world and I can work with them again.
6. All classes are optional – My law school isn’t set up like this, but a lot of law schools are set up like this. OK, there may be a few classes that should be MUST DOs – like contracts and Constitutional law – but beyond that? Let the peeps decide what they want. The practice of law is so broad and diverse that it really doesn’t make sense to make us all take certain classes if we are NEVER GOING TO USE THEM EVER in the real world!
7. Lower the cost – First off. I’m lucky. I attend a state school, as a resident, so I get law school on the “cheap” at one of the lowest cost programs around. However, law school is still expensive. It’s had double-digit increases in tuition the 4 years I’ve been taking classes, and I was happy as a clam the last semester tuition bill I paid off. I won’t miss the bills either.
With law school job prospects dwindling and the cost going up, it’s a cocktail for disaster. I hope that schools figure this out.
8. Put some classes online – I get that Socratic Method is a must have rite of passage for 1Ls. We’ve all seen the scary law school movies. It ads to the cache of school the first year. After that? Is it REALLY necessary for us to drive into class every night? I say, no. As long as you can interact online, there’s no need to keep on wasting gas to head to class every night.
Traditional schools are really struggling with letting this eyeball to eyeball stuff go, and I don’t blame them – it almost justifies the super pricey expensiveness…almost. However, with real time chat and fully engaged students, there is no need to have students all sitting in a live classroom anymore. Controversial? Maybe. But really – I challenge the notion that we all have to have live butts in the chairs to learn anymore.
That’s enough. I’m sure there’s a LOT more where that came from. But you get my point. There’s a lot of opportunity for improvement when it comes to law education. I just hope law schools listen to my plea and consider joining the 21st century when it comes to student learning.