Sunday, August 20, 2006

More (and Still More) Advice for New Law Students

Professor Paul Caron at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, who runs the excellent blog TaxProf Blog, has provided an admirable compendium of online advice for newbie law students. I am proud to say that one of this blog's entries is on the list. Check out his list of very useful links here.

And for those of you who may have missed some of my recent posts with advice for incoming law students, here are the links: two entries about how to brief a case (here and here); podcast advice for new law students from CALI's Pre-Law Blog (here); and advice regarding law school orientation, including what not to do, based on my own painful experience (here).

Good luck to all incoming students as they transition from the real world into the rarified atmosphere of law school! It's a transformational experience--one that shaped me enormously and that I have never regretted, despite all the hard work and stress of it all.


Anonymous said...

"It's a transformational experience--one that shaped me enormously and that I have never regretted, despite all the hard work and stress of it all."

Ask Professor Douglas Litowitz if most young attorneys feel the same way.

Hint: Waiting on this great blog to do a book review on Litowitz' book.

shell said...

Reading all the 1L advice made me think about my own experience last year. (Except -- I don't really remember exactly what happened thanks to Spring Semester). Looking back at my old entries, I remember how deliriously happy I was the first two weeks of school. Good old days.

Gregory W. Bowman said...


That's an excellent idea to review Litowitz's book. And in fact it jibes well with some of my scholarly research. Thanks very much for suggesting it.

As for my quote, your point is well taken. Having said that, however, don't assume that "transformational" and "no regrets" are the same thing as saying "law school was fun." Law school was a lot of work, and sometimes during the first year I was quite miserable. But I do not regret it. And I do not regret having practiced law, either--including the experience of working with some quite nasty and warped people (and also some fabulous people). Those post-law school experiences were transformational too, and to say that I merely survived the tough times would be inaccurate. They taught me a lot. If they hadn't, this blog would be little more than a rant.

There's a lot more to say on this subject, as your comment properly implies. But I'll post separately on it later. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment.

Anonymous said...

Law school professor's have a tendency to overrate the impact of law school (in addition to overrating themselves and their classes)

I learnt nothing from law school. It was too theoretical and totally disconnected from anything I've encountered in real world practice.

Unfortunately, you don't realize just how pointless it is until you graduate and get out into the 'real world'.

Gregory W. Bowman said...

Thanks for your comment. It’s fair to say that people tend to rate highly those things that they value, and discount the value of things they don’t think are important. Which is admittedly circular, but my point here is that the classes I took in law school—the good ones, anyway—really did influence my thinking about and analysis of the law. Law school did not teach me how to collate binders for a client meeting or do a redline version of changes to a contract, or how to manage a client relationship, but during my almost 10 years of practice I did find my degree useful and relevant, and not just a barrier to entry.

In fact, before my first year of law school I clerked for a small firm of 5 lawyers, and it is safe to say that despite my best intentions I was a glorified intern. I clerked for them again AFTER my first year of law school, and the difference in my skills level was astounding. I drafted briefs, motions, and interrogatories, conducted preliminary client interviews, researched and wrote legal memoranda, and so on. In other words, I did things I could not do well prior to law school, and things which had immediate, practical relevance to the practice of law. And when I clerked for another firm after my second year of law school, I found my skills level to have increased even further.

So we all have our views, and obviously ours differ on this subject. Which is fine. I appreciate you posting your opinion.