Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 14, 2020

Teaching Law Isn't What It Used to Be!

Connecticut Law Tribune op-ed:  Teaching Law Isn't What It Used to Be!, by Mark Dubois (Connecticut):

Returning to the academy after a few years doing bar leadership and other things, such as working as a prep cook in a wonderful soup kitchen, was exhilarating and frightening. I taught one day and one evening session. I really liked the evening folks. (Full disclosure, I attended four years of night law school; I never took a day course.) They were a bunch of accomplished adults with incredibly varied backgrounds and interests. One guy is on the U.S. Parachute Team. Others run businesses, travel extensively, teach, design and build things. Many are married with kids. (Some kids attended class. That must have been fun at show-and-tell.) How they do it all is a mystery, but they’re learning good skills in time and resource management that’ll make them good lawyers.

The day students don’t seem to like me much. I think I am kind of a Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. (see “The Paper Chase”) in a world expecting Fred Rogers. I take solace in the fact that they’ll one day figure out how much I made them learn, but right now I’m parking off campus.

My faculty colleagues, a few of whom taught me over 40 years ago, welcomed me back. I’ve been teaching full and part time for the past 20 years, so I understand the rituals and protocols and enjoy the intellectual give-and-take. I am in awe of their collective brilliance, though some of it does get a bit theoretical. I took part in a regional symposium, pontificating on the ethical issues addressed (or not) in the soon-to-be-released new Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance. The amount of work that goes into one of these publications is beyond belief. I cringed when some of the audience questioned whether we really needed it.

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