How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Making students cry reminds me that the worst thing a law school could do was introduce the "pass" -- where you didn't have to answer the question or be embarrassed.

Also as long as you're teaching with the Socratic method you may as well kick it old, old school and wear sandals - that'll solve the sock problem.


Socratic is the judicary's answer to the military's "Adversative Method" of education. (Penn takes it a step further and schedules three classes back-to-back through lunch, so you're hungry a lot of time. But maybe that's less military school and more Victorian Orphanage.) You've got to expect some crying. It's fundamental to the process. The people who cry aren't supposed to be there anyway. It was common knowledge among medieval peoples that crying was a sign of owning a soul. And everyone knows lawyers can't have that. Boot the crier out of school and let the rest of us feel good about being born without shame.


Kevin and Bacon: Well said. You both kicked this post up a notch with your insightful comments. The sandals--something I completely overlooked. And the reference to the theology of the Dark Ages--something I hadn't even considered. Please keep up the good work.


what's with all the crying? look, if i'm dumb enough to present a juicy socratic target for dr. meanjeans to grill, then i deserve it if i've not done the reading.

granted, i've been blessed to have nice professors, who will generally release you go after shaking you by the throat for a few minutes(well, mr. griffin has a tendency to bark at folks when they're 5 seconds late to class, but that's not so bad).

i really have to go with bacon on this one. i mean, come on. if you cry in response to a couple of pointed questions about baxendale, how are you going to stand up to scalia getting in your face during your scotus argument? (or, more realistically, how are you going to react when john q. partner forcefully reminds you that west headnotes aren't an appropriate substitute for actually reading the case?)

it seems to me that a good socratic rogering is just what most law students need to prep them for the real world.


I didn't even know professors wore sandals. (I'm glad if my professors remember to *wear* socks!)

At my school, I stay clear of the baby professors (first year teachers). Those sharp little puppy teeth getcha every time.

Taco John

I see a few facts here that I want to clarify:

1) The prof set up a system which required only a small portion of each class to do the reading.
2) When he switched to a system where everyone was now responsible for the readings, it was clear no one had.

So my question is this: As a prof, which is more gratifying? Making random students suffer for a period during the entire semester, forcing them to learn? Or continuing with the former method, denying yourself the pleasure until the couple weeks before exams, when the students are completly frazzled since they haven't done the readings, and the exam, by which time they are hollow shells with neither spirit nor soul?

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