Monday, August 11, 2008

How much reading will 2 or 3L law students do?

Rick Hills, over at Prawfsblawg, asks the question, how much reading will 2L or 3L law students do in a weekly seminar? Fifty pages a week too much?

Professor Hills teaches at NYU. I’m surprised that no one in the comments so far has remarked on what students outside the top 10 law schools do in their second and third years, at least if they are in sizable cities - viz., work as many hours as they can somewhere. It helps to be in DC, of course, but my students at American try to work at least half time, as permitted by the rules, and in many cases I am sure work far more than that. At paid jobs with law firms, if they can get them, or else at internships with government agencies. Their motivations are partly to reduce debt, but also because, at least in DC, clerkships with firms or internships with government agencies are hugely important ways of getting jobs.

This takes a large toll on class preparation. I put up with it in large part because I can see from years of watching that these positions matter in getting jobs. My students are not in law school as grad school - I wish they were, but they’re not. I don’t think they go out as well prepared academically for practice as they would if they put their focus on their classes - and I think students at schools, even in my same tier, where such positions are not available have an intellectual edge in important ways for the practice of law, because they focus more on class. But it is hard for me to fault my students and, in fact, I don’t.

1 comment:

bila said...

I enjoyed your post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for posting. I’ll likely be coming back to your blog...
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