Law professor advice to students is stupid, Part 1



It seems like many law professors think their job is a giant act of tough love rather than TEACHING.

Exhibit A:  here’s a line from a recent article in the Journal of Legal Education:

“This article accepts the now-common assertion . . . that law professors should make explicit the analytical skills their students must learn.”

Okay, let us unpack that:

  • The authors appear to feel they are accepting a controversial idea:  that law profs should teach the skills they want students to know.
  • This idea is only a “now-common” assertion?  Meaning, only recently did some law professors accept this idea.
  • Also:  this is merely an assertion.  Meaning, actually teaching legal analysis skills is not something these law profs believe they actually do.

To be fair, the article I linked to is a step up.

Most law prof advice is stupid and doesn’t acknowledge the central importance of legal analysis skills.  They focus on dumb bromides like “eat breakfast on exam day” and “masturbating the day before an exam is not bad luck.”

Many refuse to tell you the various skills the final exam is testing you on, as if doing so is cheating somehow.

(Remember, you paid up to $250,000 to teach yourself legal skills, not to be spoon fed by a professor!)

So, anyway, like any full-of-himself writer, I complained about this in the pages of Above the Law.

I specifically wanted to call out lawprofblawg (perhaps a name selected in homage to prawfsblawg) who writes this largely insipid advice to law students, also in the pages of ATL.

Specifically, he says to avoid commercial outlines like the plague.

As I said before, I disagree.  Commercial outlines can enhance your understanding of the black letter law that you must know for your exams.

Especially because  law profs are often reluctant to even tell you what the black letter law is.  You are supposed to glean it from the cases, dummy!)

So I submitted a post to Above the Law.  The piece, which is edited, is entitled Rainbow Vomit And Law Professor Advice Part 1 Of 2.

On the other hand, looks like that’s my last piece for ATL for now.  (Despite my other rousing pieces on online law schools, and how getting a sex change is easier than quitting law school.)

An editor there refuses to publish Part 2 to an article that is entitled “Part 1.”  This is probably because they heavily edited my piece at the last second, and I heavily objected.  I probably could have been nicer.  Too late.

One important change to my piece is that they omitted all references to lawprawfsblawg, whom I had specifically called out on his dumb advice.   The ATL editor, in his words, took out “the specific references to another columnist as not vital to your point, not to mention possibly causing us completely unnecessary headaches should the other columnist be offended.”

I confess I had not realized before that sensibilities at ATL were so delicate, but, you know, life is filled with change.

Anyway, when you read Rainbow Vomit, think of lawprawfblawg.  (Because I am paid by Big Aspirin and love to cause “unnecessary headaches.”)

Since I have my own blog, I will publish the unedited Parts 1 and 2 here on the pages of Larry Law Law.


Reader interactions

2 Replies to “Law professor advice to students is stupid, Part 1”

  1. Your insights are crucial to assisting law students in doing their best. The culture of legal education which fails to connect analytical skills/exam preparation within it’s model is hard to believe. Yet, it is occurring. Thank you for being a bastion of light in the tunnel of darkness that we pay so much to be in!


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