“You must always have faith in people. And more importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”– Elle Woods
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to listen to my inner Elle Woods and always have faith in myself. On a Wednesday afternoon in early August, I received an email stating that I had been accepted to Wake Forest University School of Law. Classes started in two days. I was overwhelmed by self-doubt. Was I prepared for law school if I got off the waitlist two days before classes started? Was I good enough? Would I do well? Ultimately, after some hard nudges from my parents, and despite my self-doubt, I decided to go to law school. Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part Two in a Student-Authored Series”
By: Drew Winslett (WFU Law ’20) with a brief introduction by Professor Abigail Perdue
I’m a strong believer in the popular saying, “Don’t ever look back except to see how far you’ve come.” That’s why at the conclusion of each semester, I invite my Legal Writing students to complete a reflection, considering which academic strategies worked well and which did not.
This year, I did things differently. During our final Legal Writing class, I provided students with a ten different prompts from which to choose. Each prompt invited a different kind of focused reflection. One asked students to discuss their favorite exercise, while another asked them to consider five things they would have done differently this year if given the opportunity. Students had the remainder of our 1.5 hour session to reflect, write, and revise. I invited the authors of the most insightful pieces to publish them here in a student-authored series. So without further adieu . . .
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to know that you deserve your spot in law school. The first day of law school was more stressful to me than my first cold-call or my first final exam. This was the day that I realized law school was more than just an answer to “what are you doing after graduation?” Law school had officially begun, and all the horrors and bad experiences that I had heard from others came flooding into my mind. More than anything, the burning questions that had always been in the back of my mind suddenly came to the forefront – “Do I belong here? Can I handle the pressure and the high stakes of law school? Will I succeed?” Continue reading “Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series”
According to the Pew Center, roughly 40 million Americans self-identified as a person with a disability in 2015. Of those, over 20 million adults reported having “serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.” Approximately 11 million reported serious hearing impairments, while 7 million reported significant visual impairments.
Yet despite the vast number of persons with disabilities, surprisingly few law students have heard about the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (“Guidelines”). The Guidelines include specific scoping and technical requirements, which strive to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy equal access to public facilities. They address everything from ATMS and alarms to ramps and toilet stalls. Other sections relate to restaurants and cafeterias, medical care facilities, libraries, courts, correctional facilities, etc. Continue reading “Using a Mock Accessibility Audit to Bring Disability Law to Life”
So as long as we must use the questionable term “doctrinal” when referring to law school courses, I challenge everyone (including law professors who teach legal writing) to stop directly and indirectly referring to legal writing as a “non-doctrinal” course. Use of “non-doctrinal” can be code for “lesser” thereby suggesting that legal writing has lesser import than other law school courses. Erroneously so marking legal writing as “lesser” damages legal education across the board. It damages students and law professors not teaching legal writing by suggesting that legal writing and the theory, skills and insights taught by legal writing merit less of their time, which in turn increases the odds that both students and other faculty will remain ignorant of the critical knowledge and skills that legal writing teaches. It also damages law professors teaching legal writing because it invites disparate treatment such as lack of tenure, lower pay, and lack of equal respect. As a result, law professors teaching legal writing encounter greater difficulties in publishing scholarship, difficulties which deprive us all of the scholarship so silenced or deterred. Such erroneous code also ignores the profound subject matters addressed in legal writing courses today.
Such erroneous code further ignores fundamental principles of semantics and fundamental insights of modern cognitive psychology embraced by legal writing courses today. For all of these reasons, the term “doctrinal” should be replaced with “meaningful” when referring to courses and “proper subject matter” when referring to course content.
For many law students, Criminal Law can be a difficult first-year course. It is less like a Law and Order episode and more like a philosophy class focused on abstract ideas like the purpose of punishment and the meaning of intent. Criminal Law professors can use experiential learning to help students connect these abstract ideas to tangible cases. One excellent example is a jury simulation that several Criminal Law professors at Wake Forest jointly developed to use with their sections. While this activity involved a criminal case, many of the practical lessons learned apply with equal force to all jury trials, whether criminal or civil, and similar experiential learning exercises can be used in other courses. Continue reading “Jury Duty Serves Double Duty: How an Experiential Jury Simulation Reinforces Classroom Content and Teaches Practical Skills”