Tuesday, January 04, 2005


So I've been thinking about how law school can be improved. Currently it's 3 years, at the end of which the graduates are broke, insanely bored, and unprepared to face life as a lawyer thanks to the highly academic and theoretical 3 years preceeding the bar exam. Many of my friends and I agree, no, vehemently espouse, that law school ought to be pared down to 2 years. Brevity is good in everything. Trust me.

Further, in my opinion, law school ought to be taught in a series of legal research & writing classes. Perhaps not the first year, but certainly the second (and final) year. I spoke to a bankruptcy lawyer once who had never taken a class on bankruptcy and was doing just fine. What's essential in law school is not so much learning the content as much as to learn how to learn the content in any area of the Law. When I worked in S'pore last summer, I was researching on UK, Idonesian, and Singapore laws regarding contracts. What came in handy there was not actually understanding the contents as much as knowing where to find them. Thanks to legal research & writing. Learning how to read the statute and read cases and analyse the issues are what are crucial in practice. I had to read the Rules of Court in S'pore for my summer internship. Obviously nothing I had learned, substantively, in law school as a 1L ever came in handy for that. What did help me interpret and apply those Rules was having to read the Uniform Parent Act of California while writing my paper for LRW. It's ridiculous, in my not-so-humble opinion, that law school does not follow a more active methodology of teaching. Simply ridiculous.

That rant aside, I want to thank all those who wrote back, in more than one line, to my one-lined mail wishing all a happy new year. One of my new year resolutions is to reply to all those mails at least in matching lengths. Thanks also to those of you who took the time out to come by my site and give me your input. It's highly appreciated. Perhaps if more of you who read my blog left an indication (no matter how tiny) that you read it, I might be better motivated to add to the palty content. Isn't that nice of me? Decidedly nice.

I just got back from my New Jersey trip with my brother. It was a very nice, fulfilling and quiet week that I spent there with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and brother. A very quiet new year's eve, for a change. Got to talk to most of my close relatives, which was nice. All in all, a really nice week just sailed by.

Now I'm back in the madness of the week that's a precursor to law school chaos. Books to buy, classes to axe (or treasure), research to do, resolutions to keep... Speaking of resolutions, one of them is to run the Broad Street marathon this time round. The last year's run was scratched due to my cold feet just prior to exams. Not so this year. No sireebob. This year I'm going to start preparing soon, for both the run and my exams. I already started on the former, and the latter will start being worked on the moment school starts.

I feel like the Spring semester is going to be my semester. I'm going to own it. After 3 semesters, crazy ones, at Temple Law, I finally feel like I know what needs to be done to get those dreaded letter grades. At least, I think I do. I need to wait for my grades to come in before I can affix my stamp of approval on my own opinion. But I'm reasonably certain that I know what law professors generally want to see in the exams. But since I'm not that certain of it, I have also taken precautions by opting for writing classes and other non-exam classes.

For example, this semester, I have Trial Advocacy (for which, am proud to say, Temple is the nation's best school). Instead of a 4 hour exam at the end of 4 months of slogging, during which you lose half your brain regurgitating what the other half managed to cram, I'll have a full fledged trial. I'd better start getting over my cold feet on that one. But you know, having been a Toastmaster and a debator, that really should'nt faze me. Much. Besides, that'll keep me on my toes all semester long. And I'll learn the Rules of Evidence heaps better. That should help me when it comes time to sit for the unbearable Bar Exam.

In addition, in my quest to avoid exams, I have a guided research paper and another class which is a writing seminar. I realised that I tend to perform better on paers than on exams. Ergo, these classes. But I also have 3 other classes which I have exams for. The 3 tough ones - Corporate Reorganisation (Chap 11 Bankruptcy), Corporate Tax, and Cyberlaw & Policy. The last is actually a split class, meaning I derive 60% of my grade from my exam and 40% from work put in during the semester. All in all, I'm looking forward to this semester. It's going be a crazy one, with my full 15 credits' worth of classes, and one crammed with 6 classes instead of just 4 or 5, and also a semester chock of classes that require short term attention throughout the 4 months. But that's precisely why I chose this schedule.

Can't wait to start.



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