November 14, 2009

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING LAW SCHOOL?

I should note that nuts-and-bolts law is good, but when I was a law clerk (on the Sixth Circuit for Judge Merritt) there were three times when the judge asked me about an obscure legal point and I was able to give a correct black-letter answer off the top of my head, and those answers came from courses in International Human Rights Law, Law Science and Technology, and . . . Law And Sexuality. Thanks, Harlon Dalton! So you never know. But this bit is absolutely true: “Years into practice, I still found myself remembering something from law school and saying ‘so that’s what the professor was talking about.'”

I also think that one thing law professors do is model ways of looking at problems — modeling how a lawyer’s mind works. I still hear Burke Marshall’s voice in my head sometimes, and yet I don’t think I was especially dazzled by him at the time. In retrospect, though, I really learned a lot.

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