February 24, 2004

Oh What a Difference an Instructor Makes

It's no secret that I hated LWR. I'm also not a huge fan of moot court, but my negative feelings are much lesser towards it than to LWR. For the most part, my lower level of vitriol can be attributed to my instructor.

He's a practicing litigator who used to be a DA. He's logical and provides constructive, easy to follow, and individualized feedback. He comes to campus to meet with us instead of expecting us to go to his office to meet with him. He teaches all of the classes instead of telling the TA to lecture. He actually reads our work before the final grading pass.

I met with him today to go over my brief. For 30 minutes he discussed ways that I could make my paper better. I found myself nodding. Everything he was saying made sense. I felt as if he was imparting years of knowledge and experience to me. I was grateful. I was almost excited to get started on the next draft of my brief. Almost.

Compare that with last semester, where I sat through lectures about keeping each paragraph to 3 sentences and IRAC-ing each element of the IRAC (I'm not kidding, last semester I had to struggle to find a way to include a rule, analysis and conclusion in the Issue "section" of my memo.)

In other words, yeah, the professional skills courses for 1Ls at my school leave quite a bit to be desired. Sure, they are their own separate department with an even worse bureacracy than the general administration. Yes, they actually have a lower level of technical expertise than the general administration (which I thought was impossible). And yes, each syllabus (syllabii? syllabuses?) includes way too much work for the two unit course it supports. But, access to a good practitioner who's willing to impart his knowledge and experience is a wonderful thing. This semester, I think the net effect of the professional skills course will be positive.

On a more superficial note, I'm happy that the brief is due earlier in the semester instead of later despite what it's been doing to my life. Two more weeks of hell. Focus. Eyes on the prize.

Ahh... spring break, I can hear you calling to me now. Sunshine. Alcohol. Sand. Sleep. Ocean.

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