Law in Contemporary Society

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CarlySadicarioFirstEssay 1 - 28 Feb 2020 - Main.CarlySadicario
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How to be Creative in Law School

-- By CarlySadicario - 28 Feb 2020

I personally do not think it is possible to be creative in your first year of law school. We all take the same classes, use the same outlines, read the same books, and try to conform to the thinking of our professor in order to get a good grade. If we stray too far from the already beaten path, we could risk failure or getting a bad grade. As we have discussed in class, law students, especially those at top schools, are risk averse people. Many of us probably chose this path due to the basic guarantee that we would be able to get a job and make money. While I am sure almost every person wrote about a noble purpose for wanting to be a lawyer in their personal statement during the application process, I doubt everyone was being truthful. Even if they really thought they were going to be a human rights lawyer at the time, Columbia has a way of pushing everyone into Biglaw. While I personally chose Columbia due to the potential corporate law prospects, I know many of my classmates that have already changes their tune from the beginning of this year. I think a reason why that might be is a lack of creative thinking, not taking classes we are actually interested in, and the workload. When we have so much work for all of our classes, we cannot devote the time to dig deep into the classes we enjoy because we still have to give a decent amount of time to the classes we do not enjoy. Some law students could potentially give a hundred twenty percent to one class and ignore all of the other classes. However, that has a huge risk factor that most students are probably not willing to take.

What are some ways that we can fix this problem?

Well for starters we can make all 1L classes pass/fail and if grades are really needed have them be used in your 2L and 3L year when you are taking classes you actually chose. While I feel that getting grades all together would be amazing, I do not think it would actually be possible, there needs to be at least a pass/fail option. While some of my classmates might not agree with me, I think a midterm would be helpful. There is so much pressure put on one final 3-4 hour test. If we had a midterm that would alleviate some of the pressure and let us see what concepts we need to improve upon. One of the main issues of the way law school is set up now is that not only do we need to know and understand the material, but we need to know what our professor thinks about the material. I know I personally disregarded my own thinking during exams about a certain topic and wrote exactly what the professor thought about the topic. There is very little room in the way we have exams set up now to be creative. I feel that I am not even allowed to formulate my own opinions about the law because the exam is about just shoving as much knowledge as possible onto the page. In the end, it is not even knowledge because I am just writing verbatim what I have written on my outline, an outline that I got from an older student, who got it from an even older student.


I also think that the class size needs to be much smaller. I was personally a lot more engaged and active in classroom discussion in our small sections last semester. In our normal section classes, it is the same 5 male students who volunteer to talk. There are many statistics out there that say that men are much more likely to talk to large group settings. I guess it would also follow that out of my 10 instructors this year 7 of them have been white males, with 5 out of 6 of my core classes being taught by white males. How can we be creative in our thinking if there is no diversity in who is teaching our classes?

During orientation they talk about the diverse backgrounds of our class and how we all come from such different lives. However, when we actually start classes, we are not allowed to have that diverse background color our thinking about the law. We do not hear the opinions of those who have real life experiences. Instead, we read cases about things that happened in 19th century England. We talk about history and theory. However, in the end, this is a trade school where we are supposed to use our knowledge, we gained in law school and apply it to real life situations. At the moment, the only class that has any real-world applicability is our legal writing class. The more I meet young lawyers, the more I hear that they learned everything they needed in the first year of their jobs. If that is true, why do we even need three years of law school? Maybe it would be better suited if these three years was more hands-on learning, working with clients, sitting in courtrooms, and looking at actual contracts and property deeds.

Lastly, if I really wanted to be creative, I would have gone with my first thought in writing this essay and simply wrote “Thousand Word Essay” at the top of this page and nothing else. However, as discussed above and in class, we are a risk averse people and I would be too nervous to ever do something like that.

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Revision 1r1 - 28 Feb 2020 - 15:33:34 - CarlySadicario
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