By: Professor Abigail Perdue
It’s that time again – the part of the semester when nervous students anxiously buzz around the hallways decked out in black, pinstripe suits and power ties. They carry fancy leather-bound portfolios and practice “firm handshakes” to make a good first impression during on-campus interviews. But too often when I speak to potential employers, I hear the same refrain: Law schools need to do a better job of teaching strong writing and editing skills.
I agree. Legal writing, analysis, editing, and research are fundamental skills at the heart of effective lawyering. No person can be a competent attorney without them. And even when we do our best to prepare students for the practice, we should always strive to do better. But as budgets tighten and the number of core faculty shrink at law schools across America, law professors in general, and legal writing professors in particular, often find themselves between a rock and a hard place expected to do much more for students with far fewer resources at their disposal.
This begs the question: What can legal employers do to identify and attract the best writers? Perhaps they should change the way that they hire. Continue reading “Wanted: Law Students Who Can Write”
By: Professor Meghan Boone
“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”
– Harold J. Smith
I know what you are thinking – this post must be incorrectly titled. Surely, the author means to discuss how to help law students avoid making mistakes, right? Wrong. I am talking about the fine art of making mistakes, which I argue is critical for the long term professional success of our students. Continue reading “Helping Law Students Learn How to Make Mistakes”
By: Jennifer Richwine with an introduction and contributions by Professor Abigail Perdue
The new year is the perfect time to consider fresh ways to foster the formation of a healthy professional identity in law students. So I invited my esteemed colleague and friend, Jennifer Richwine, author of With Gratitude: The Power of a Thank You Note, to share her insights regarding the importance of teaching law students to practice gratitude. As a result of my insightful conversations with Jennifer through the years about the importance of saying thank you in the professional world, I devoted a section of my book, The All-Inclusive Guide to Judicial Clerking, to the importance of expressing gratitude to recommenders, mentors, and judges when applying for clerkships. I also included a sample thank you note. Now Jennifer has generously agreed to share her observations with TeachLawBetter.com, and in keeping with her topic, we are so grateful. Thank you Jennifer! Continue reading “New Year, New Attitude: Teaching Students to Practice Gratitude”
By: Gregory Bordelon, Executive Director of the Louisiana Committee on Bar Admissions
Law school may be three years, but preparing for life as a lawyer takes much longer – an educational journey that spans close to twenty, if we’re speaking only about formal schooling. The intricate web of life events that influences a person’s decision to become a lawyer cannot be easily distilled through the often intense period of adapting to the first year of law school. It is not a “one size fits all” proposition. This, in part, is why people react differently to the 1L year, some with intellectual exhilaration, some with confusion, and others with anxiety and doubt. I refer to studying legal education before and after law school as continuum studies – the study of how events before and after law school impact lawyering. Continue reading “Proposing A Continuum of Legal Education and Collaboration Beyond Three Years”
By: Dana Graber, Regulatory Counsel, Food Marketing Institute
Attorneys are trained to document nearly everything we do. In law school, every argument is backed by citation to corroborating case law. Likewise, in the real world, law firms spend thousands of dollars each year for document storage. But are law schools missing the mark when it comes to teaching attorneys-in-progress to consistently document their own skills and accomplishments? I think the answer is yes, which may ultimately do students a disservice during post-graduate job searches. Continue reading “Journaling Your Way to a Job”