Who's to Blame for Bored Law Students?

by Vault Education Editors | November 04, 2009

  • My Vault

Recipe for a lively discussion: equal parts law school students, professors and donors with a healthy dose of open bar. From the t14 law student blog:

"As the dessert carts came out, though, one of the donors asked me how I was enjoying law school, so I said, as nicely as possible, 'I'm a little bored but everyone tells me that exams are pretty intense.'

"The profs at the table immediately intervened, asking about my professors, my workload, and what I thought about both. I was honest. I said that while I'm sure the profs are quite intelligent and respected, I found their classes to be 'only occasionally useful.' I didn't have time to address the excessive workload, as both professors dove right into a discussion about how law students today are so focused on the next step, they don't take the time to appreciate their wonderful scholastic opportunities, with which the table (including myself) agreed. Then they both made a catastrophic error, both in terms of fund-raising and mere validity. They asserted that the blame for students not properly appreciating their time at law school lied with the firms and the outrageous salaries.

"Of course, the donors were like WTFWAT!? They posited that law school, with its archaic focus on extremely broad topics and one test per semester structure, was [expletive] retarded. They spoke about not learning a single thing in their third year and having no clue how to practice at graduation. Why should the students care about the work if it brings no utility?"

Although the blogger is telling the story for its humor value, the debate waged while eating cheesecake at the law school event is much larger, with critics and experts on both sides weighing in. Does law school's format inhibit students' ability to be engaged and learn the skills they need to succeed in their future careers? And, if the law school format is "broken," who's to blame? The professors who teach overly theoretical material or the law firm recruiters who make students too career focused? And once we've assigned the blame, where do we go from there? In this case, perhaps that's home to sleep it off.

Filed Under: Education

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