Paul L. Caron

Friday, July 23, 2010

ABA Journal: The Consequences of Missing a Law School Class

ABA Journal ABA Journal, Question of the Week: Did You Ever Skip a Law School Class—And Have Dramatic Consequences?:

This week, we wrote about a student at the University of San Diego School of Law who debated whether to risk having to miss some sessions of his tax law class—a class for which he knew attendance counted toward the grade—to participate in the World Series of Poker. The professor of the class, Paul Caron, reported on TaxProf Blog that the student went to the tournament and ultimately won $24,000, "which presumably took the sting out of missing three of my classes."

What we'd like to hear from you: Have you ever made a conscious choice to skip a law class and had that decision bring excellent or disappointing results? ... Answer in the comments.

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The ABA frames the question curiously. One can make "a conscious choice to skip a law class" due to a car wreck, serious personal illness, death in the family, etc. One presumes the inquiry is not aimed at such extreme scenarios.

That said, when a 1L taking Civil Procedure, I was summoned to give a deposition in a case involving a former employer. As it involved a long trip, and a missed CivPro lecture, I visited the professor beforehand and explained the situation. With a wicked gleam in his eye, the CivPro prof wished me well at the deposition and very kindly disclosed the couple of nuggets in his lecture that I would miss. Later on, after I returned and we got to FRCP 30 in class, the prof made a point of choosing me to answer a question about depositions in federal practice. It all worked out fine in the long run.

Posted by: Jake | Jul 23, 2010 4:08:00 PM

I skipped pretty much the entirety of my Evidence course, and thus missed out on a ton of cognitive psychology as conceived by my LAW professor. Didn't miss much evidence instruction, though. Did well in the course, and slept an extra couple of hours each morning -- all in all, not a bad result.

Posted by: PES | Jul 23, 2010 8:00:28 PM

I skipped pretty much my entire 2L & 3L years (except for the classes I got my "major" in), after I figured out how little being in class added to my 1L experience. In Torts the guy was months behind in the syllabus and in Contracts she taught a class entirely on Promissory Estoppel (because she couldn't bring herself to tell people they were wrong) and tested us on normal Contract law.
Instead I studied on my own (really if you haven't learned to learn on your own by the time you enter law school you have issues) and got mostly As and a few Bs.
The disadvantages: (1) I got a gentleman's C in Crim Law because the Prof didn't conventional CrimLaw (which is what I studied), and (2) I felt that my law school "education" cost more than it was worth even when my company paid for it.
The advantages: (1) I didn't have to listen to my fellow students' idiotic ideas, and (2) I was spared the 45 minute 1 way drive to the law school.

Posted by: Bonzo | Jul 23, 2010 10:50:27 PM