Monday, November 08, 2004

Reflections: Thomas Cooley School of Law

I have been reflecting lately on my law school experience, and I must say that I am rather happy overall. At times it is a difficult and painful experience, but at other times it is equally invigorating and rewarding. I’m glad I made this choice, although clearly it is not the path for everyone as I see more and more students weighing alternatives.

I’ve been reading on various blogs as well as postings on some of the online law school forums how other law students struggle with their peers, the “gunners” in their sections, the back stabbing, and so on. Cooley may have such characters as well, but thus far my own experience has been mostly positive.

My Property professor is a decent and likeable guy, although I know he struggles with delivering the material (who WOULDN’T struggle with RAP and Shelly tests?) If he sticks with it, I actually think he’ll end up being just fine, although it may take a few semesters before he finds his groove. I take some solace in the fact that he’s a regular guy as during a previous class while attending to business on break he joked with me - “So how’s the game going back in the bleachers (Spartans v Bucks) – anyone following it?” He was kidding – sort of, but obviously he once attended law school and probably suffered through a Property class or two of his own as well.

It might be the sheer numbers of Cooley students (somewhere around 900+ entering freshmen in my class) that limits the cutthroat tendencies that exist at the exclusive schools, or perhaps I’ve just been lucky. Whatever the case may be I am not unhappy with my decision to attend Cooley. The students are friendly, levelheaded and generally helpful.

3 Comments:

At Tuesday, November 09, 2004 9:06:00 PM, Blogger MindFull said...

Meandered on over to your lawn by clicking the magic next blog button in the top right corner pocket. Anyway, I just graduated from college in May and am considering law school. I read painful and difficult--and have heard/read these words used previously to describe law school--and had to ask. If ya don't of course. What's been the worst part? Or rather, what do those who are weighing other options give as reasons for doing so. Any advice? Thanks for the time.

 
At Tuesday, November 09, 2004 10:07:00 PM, Blogger MajQa' said...

The pain is different for everyone involved. For some, it’s the volume of materials that have to be covered in a single semester, and for others it is the amount of time one must dedicate to the craft itself. It is, basically, a lot of hard work. Your grades are also based on a single exam (per class) at the end of the semester and this can prove a bit unnerving to students who were used to a more gradual approach to grades.

Few will understand what you are going through. The wife, kids, in-laws, friends, significant other, will think of law school as being just like any other pursuit and don’t understand why you can’t go out / play / enjoy life / have a life / visit for the holidays / stop smoking / and so on. For them school was fun, and while law school can indeed be fun – it’s a hellish kind of fun. It has its moments pure exhaustion mixed with frustration. It is NOT a study of law so much as it is training to think a certain way, and likewise write a certain way, with some bits of law thrown in to move you along. You will discover that if you really want to “learn the law”, you’ll need to do that outside of class (contrary to what you’re told).

I still haven’t found a clear way to express my law school experience. It’s different than undergrad or even my (still unfinished) Masters in Computer Science in that traditional notions of “education” don’t really fit. I think this is because I am at that mid-point where I’m strapped in the rocket sled and flying down the rail at full speed, but I’ve yet to hit the wall – hence I can’t quite articulate the whole experience until after impact.

If you are thinking about going to law school, work as hard as you can to get a good LSAT score. That will do more for you than anything else. With an outstanding LSAT score you could write your personal statement in crayon and still land a scholarship.

 
At Wednesday, November 10, 2004 4:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been studing law in Brazil for almost 3 years. I want practical (action) with theory, 'cause I'm tired of only having theory.
Nikki

 

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