Thursday, August 18, 2011
(Alabama), Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here; Or, My Advice to First-Years
- The Economy is Terrible: "This one seems obvious, but the contretemps of the other day has convinced me that we would be better off starting with the bad news so that law students can make some smart and tough decisions at the outset."
- You Are Enrolled in "Job-Hunting and the Law": "It's easy to put the job hunt last after a long list of other duties and to work at it lackadaisically. I recommend instead that you treat the job hunt as one of your principal enrolled courses."
- It's Your Money and Your Degree: "[I]f you're going to spend three years and a good deal of money in law school, it's up to you to make the most of it."
- Nobody Gets Hurt, Nobody Gets Arrested: "Talking in class, and other ways of throwing yourself into the mix, is a terrific, bad-consequence-free way of actually starting to practice at being a lawyer. Take advantage."
- Stop Worrying About Competitive Advantage: "The 'edge' you lose by helping others is minimal compared to the 'edge' you gain in mastering that same material by teaching it."
- Legal Research and Writing Is Your Most Important Class: "That's true not just in the sense that you will use the skills you gain in that class more than you will use, say, basic contract law doctrine on a given day at work. It's also true in the sense that a good legal writing memo ...IS A GOOD LAW SCHOOL EXAM ANSWER."
- Find Your Own Way to Find Joy in Law School: "[I]t's your money and your time, and I think you will feel a lot better off about it if you work to find ways of making it your own and finding something lasting and exciting about it."
- Don't Hate Shortcuts But Don't Make Law School All About Them Either: "[I]f you would like to develop legal skills, learn how to become an A student more often than a B student, and just, you know, enjoy law school, then you shouldn't let the shortcuts become the whole story."
- Use Clinics and Adjuncts: "[F]or those of you who are interested in getting some practical skills or who already know exactly what they want to do in practice, both clinics and adjunct professors are a great resource."