Legal Quandary

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Semester Preview

I think my schedule is finally set. I had hoped to get into Legal Drafting because I had been told that the course was 1) actually useful and 2) an easy A. Alas, it appears everyone else had been told the same thing because I ended up as number 6 on the wait list. (Thanks to being a visiting student, I got to register with the 2Ls.) I showed up for the first class and it wasn't looking good.

So, I switched to Trial Practice. That's actually good too, since I was disappointed last semester about not being able to get into Trial Advocacy. I think this class is actually really close to Trial Advocacy at TVPNU - and I'm really pleased with our instuctor here. REALLY pleased. The only downside to this class is that it meets from 6-9 PM on Wednesday nights, making my Wednesdays really long. Also, the only word I think accurately describes Host School's neighborhood is Ghetto, so I'm less than thrilled about my walk to (and for that matter, subsequent ride on) the Metro.

Aside from my long Wednesdays, the rest of my schedule is pretty good. Nothing before 10:45. No classes on Friday. Only one class on Thursday. And long breaks between classes, which means if I'm disciplined and actually put the time to good use, I might be able to finish my homework at school.

Remedies promises to be painful - with a closed book final at the end. I don't think the material is necessarily difficult, it's just sort of boring because the prof seems to be a big believer in straight lecture. I talked to a classmate who had him for Con Law and she assured me it will be a miserable experience.

Plus, I take issue with the whole closed book final idea. He says that he'll start giving open book/take home exams when they start giving open book/take home bar exams. I've heard this rationale before, and have to say - I don't buy it. First of all, the bar exam's purpose is to test for minimal competence. I think a class should give us a basic understanding of the material, to include knowing how and where to find relevant information. Not that many classes either teach or reward law students for being able to do competent legal work. Why not? Will any employer EVER want us to sit down and just spit out what we think the law might be without the benefit of other resources? Second, for the most part, when we study for the bar, the majority of that information is supposed to be review. Finally, most law students take an intensive bar review course. Which typically focus 6-8 weeks on nothing other than getting you ready to take the bar exam. I have 3 finals this semester. Reading assignments won't end until the week before, leaving me about a week to really assimilate the material - for the sole purpose of regurgitating it on the final. I know everyone else is in the same boat, so I'm not arguing that closed book finals are unfair - I just think they - and most other law school exams - don't really measure our abilities. I'd much rather have regular assignments which test my understanding and develop my analytical and legal writing skils. Maybe I'd even retain some of the information. But bottom line is that he's the prof and can give us any kind of exam he wants. I just think his stated rationale is complete BS. /rant

Federal Income Tax seems like it will be ok. It has a high potential to be boring, but the prof seems like she'll be pretty good. And she's promised that it's not a math class. The book is strange though. I haven't figured out exactly what we're supposed to be getting from the reading assignments yet.

Fair Employment Law. I found the prof to be mindnumbing a bit dry for Crim Pro, but I'm hopeful that this class will be different, since co-authored our text and was an NAACP lawyer during the Civil Rights Movement. Also, there's a paper option (which I'll take), so no final. And that's always a bonus in my book.

Finally, Agency law. The prof seems really good, and the class only meets once a week. For the final he only allows an outline - and he provides it with the exam. If any of you DC types have had Prof Wyrsch for Agency & Partnership, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

So there it is. It's taken me 2 1/2 days to write this post because (so far) I have been really disciplined and have been doing my reading at school instead of posting. Yay me.

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