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What is law school...like?

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Replies to: What is law school...like?

  • flowerheadflowerhead Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
  • baller4lyfeballer4lyfe Registered User Posts: 1,214 Senior Member
    Do professors actually cuss at students in an academic setting? Clearly, that would be unqualifiedly condemned.

    Academics is academics, and that means that the classroom--be it in kindergarten via the school district or grad school at university--is a place of mutual respect rather than mutual recrimination.

    So, I aver, unless there are exigent circumstances involved where this rule is violated, universally, and typically, "cussing" or insults at individuals in a learning environment is HIGHLY DISREGARDED and must be dealt with accordingly.

    AT LEAST, of course, in the United States. In other countries professors may indeed cuss at students, and even though they are in the wrong for doing so, we can't go over there and educate them on decorum :)
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    I've never seen anything like that happen. Even the way cartera was treated would be a little shocking to me.

    (With that said, by reputation, this sort of thing is pretty common at law firms.)

    More to the point, cussing back is not the appropriate response. The appropriate (and more effective) response is to quietly file a complaint with the proper authorities (in this case, student affairs).
  • ConCerndDadConCerndDad Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    Having graduated from law school in 1981, I have little memory of anything now, either the events or the teaching. What I can say is that law school has nothing to do with the practice of law, nor does it prepare you for law practice. Frankly, I was terribly bored in law school. My contracts and torts professors never provided any answers, only questions. (In those courses, the correct response to an exam question is not "A", but "It might be A becasue X, but it could be B because Y, and maybe it could also be C because Z"). Having a science degree, I was used to getting and supplying answers, and the Socratic method questioning teaching style was frustrating to me and seemed awfully dumb. I was also much too ethical. Unbeknownst to me, almost all of my classmates used books that summarized the case decisions and others that summarized the law. I thought that using such books was like cheating, that I should be learning everything only from the case books. In second and third years, many students showed up for class, placed recorders in front of the professor and left. (I remember a cartoon of a lectern covered with students' tape recorders, and one player for the professor, no people present in the lecture hall). In third year, lots of students had part-time jobs (i.e., hopeful pre-jobs) which prevented (?) them from attending classes on some days. Looking back, I would say that developing legal research skills was the most important. I view all of the rest of the classes as an introduction to those subjects, with the main learning taking place when taking the bar review course after completing law school. Of course, getting good grades is important for getting a job later. Employers get as many resumes as colleges and law schools get applications and have to have some way of picking out fresh meat to employ for a year or two until the kids are burnt out. With over 25 years in litigation, I do not suggest to my high school daughter to pursue a career in law. Certainly in litigation, one sees everyone at their nastiest. But I digress.
  • baller4lyfeballer4lyfe Registered User Posts: 1,214 Senior Member
    Con, what kind of law do/did you practice? What do you suggest or what are your thoughts on those of us interested in becoming financial lawyers, or civil lawyers, which field is less abrasive and in fact enjoyable?
  • ConCerndDadConCerndDad Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    Bal: I have been practicing Intellectual Property law since 1983, in New York City. I have 2 science degrees. The field used to be called "patent law" and used to be practiced exclusively by attorneys in relatively small law firms that only handled patent, trademark and copyright law. In those days, things were somewhat civil. Then, these small firms either got large or got gobbled up by large firms. I let myself get gobbled by a large GP firm for a few years. Now, most big firms have an IP department, mostly manned by arrogant Ivy leaguers with no science education who think that they are smart enough to handle anything, including organic chemistry. That's another story. As patent cases became handled by bigfirms, litigation became much nastier, IMHP. As for what area to practice in, well, go where the jobs are. When I lateralled to the large GP firm, they had just finished firing most of their real estate department due to a change in the lagal demands, and instead were hiring bankruptcy attorneys. Then a few years later, most of the bankruptcy attorneys were fired and real estate attorneys were hired. M&A (is this a "financial lawyer" that you ask about?) was peaking, then it was not, and staffing changed accordingly. All this is, of course, "civil" law, although the lawyers are typically not. With civil law, no one's going to jail or get executed, it's all about money, so you can sleep well at night, presuming they let you come home, a real issue with 1 to 3 year associates. I have to admit that I have enjoyed writing briefs, and depositions can be fun at times, as well as court arguments. But, one has, somehow, to ignore the nastiness that your opponents constantly throw at you in each of those tasks. After 25+ years, it now makes my stomach tighten. You young wippersnappers, however, seem to love it and love the fight. Good for you. In most areas of the law, you are trying to get something that someone else doesn't want to give to you without a fight. It's not just about writing a good brief, or making a good oral argument, etc. And some of the most annoying fights are with "helpful" or inquisitive or concerned clients. If one could only practice law without clients! Clients and opposing counsel, aye, there's the rub.
  • flowerheadflowerhead Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    ConCernDad,

    Your perspective is interesting, even if a little scathing. Most of the big firms I interviewed with had an IP department that was divided into hard and soft. The non-science people did soft-IP, and the science people did hard. In fact, some of the firms during our interview week had their own interview schedule for hard-IP candidates.

    So with all that, I wonder about the accuracy of the notion that big firms have arrogant non-science people do hard IP. That certainly wasn't the case with many of the firms with whom I interviewed.
  • ConCerndDadConCerndDad Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    Flower:

    Nice to hear about your interview experience. I have lived it.
  • flowerheadflowerhead Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    I guess I wasn't clear. I was asking a question. Were firms misrepresenting themselves to me during the interview process? Their purported structure seems to contradict your account.
  • ConCerndDadConCerndDad Registered User Posts: 428 Member
    When I was at BigLawFirm, there were 25+ people nominally in the IP group -- which only handled patent litigation and a small amount of TM litigation (also a bit of trade secret litigation). Of the 25+, only about 5 had a science degree. But the rest were *smart* guys, I guess. What BigLawFirms like to do is have a low level science associate to provide scientific advice to the english-major, former-federal-prosecutor partners. However, there are many BigLawFirms that have attracted a critical mass of patent people, either through law firm acquisition, or inch-by-inch. Check their firm bios for science depth. However, if you have *no* science degree, I suggest non-patent work is in your future.
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