Law in Contemporary Society
To post questions and build out the discussion started in the Wednesday, April 9th class regarding where to go from here and how to build an action plan for shaping our career without hocking the license.

SEE ALSO FramingQuestionsAboutBecomingLawyers

There are probably many questions, so either hit "edit" and give your question a bold/header formatting and its own comment box; or, if you're not comfortable with that, use a fresh comment box from below.

A few years ago I was given an assignment that I didn't have the experience to handle successfully. After watching me fumble for a bit, my mentor at the time called me into his office and said: "A good leader knows three things. He knows what he knows. He knows what he doesn't know. And he knows where to go to find out the stuff he needs to learn."

This was particularly important advice for me to receive because I am someone who compensates for insecurity by puffing up my chest and pushing forward, pretending to know what I don't know.

One way to maximize the power of this post, it seems, would be to put each other in touch with people in the legal community who have a particular insight about an issue. These people might be our classmates, professors, practitioners, or anyone else who might have a thing or two to say about this issue.

-- AdamCarlis - 12 April 2008

Adam, your suggestion makes good sense. But even if I knew "what I know" and "what I don't know," I wouldn't feel ready to inquire "where to find out the stuff I need to learn," UNTIL I also knew what is this "stuff I need to learn." I feel like I skipped
a middle step, i.e. shining what I KNOW upon what I DON'T KNOW, in order to distinguish within the latter, what I should know from what I shouldn't.

As everyone knows, I'm the first to "puff up my chest and push forward, pretending" etc. etc. But until I know what I should know, I won't assume that lawyers are people I should learn it from. We can't have two uncontrolled variables at once, so I propose that we stereotype what persons in each profession know, and ask:
"Which information [i.e. held by lawyers, entrepreneurs, politicians, policemen, prisoners, professors, young parents, etc.] SHOULD WE KNOW?"

Can we have that discussion here -- what vocation and/or specialty SHOULD we be hearing from?

My assumption: we are talking about TAKING RISKS; therefore we'd want to hear from more entrepreneurs than lawyers. Or you can say "Entrepreneurial lawyers" if you'd like to end this discussion by demonstrating the Zen-like futility of asking questions about knowledge, and I will abide.

-- AndrewGradman - 15 Apr 2008



Can someone remind me what the benefits of journal membership are? Does membership help build a set of legal skills or just expertise in blue-booking? I suppose Law Review carries some marketable prestige, but are the others also valued?

-- EdwardNewton - 10 Apr 2008

As far as journals go, I think it's more hype than substance. After being on a journal this year, it's a mixed experience. You definitely learn how to bluebook. But ask any 3L editors and they'll tell you that less than 30% is actually done right, and they just end up redoing the work. The best advice I got was to ignore the subject matter and take on the amount of work that you actually think you can handle. (How many times do they publish per year? Note requirement? Do you actually aid in selecting articles? Are the people generally cooperative or a little douchebaggy?) Those that I've counseled that took what they can handle, generally didn't mind the bluebooking grunt work and found the articles interesting.

-- MiaWhite - 10 Apr 2008


As to the value of journals, it seems some journal is a prerequisite to a clerkship. According to CLS's clerkship manual either 95% or 99%(I can't remember) of students receiving clerkships had a journal on their resume. I also remember hearing a judge speaking about the clerkship application process saying she removes all the applications that don't have journals first. The value of a clerkship is subjective. Eben mentioned in class his District clerkship allowed him to see the law at work. I also know firms offer a bonus in pay and seniority to many who join with clerkships completed. The journal clerkship correlation seems to be the most important thing I've learned about journals so far.

A question of my own: Who knows how easy or hard it is to fulfill your major or minor writing requirements outside of a journal note? Is the journal note the best way to fulfill these requirements or just a common method?

-- JulianBaez - 14 Apr 2008

Just a note on causation vs. correlation: If everyone who wants a clerkship thinks that you have to do a journal to get a clerkship, then everyone who gets a clerkship will have done a journal (or at least 95-99% of them will). What the judge in your anecdote said is another story, but I wonder how many judges have that policy. Maybe there's a few judges who do that, and cause a panic among risk-averse law students (including myself in that) who don't want to do anything that hurts their chances?

It may be that not doing a journal knocks you off the list of possibilities for a few judges. But if doing a journal really seems so onerous, is it worth doing just to increase your clerkship chances marginally by not getting eliminated at the first step by those judges? I think there might be some room for "If you don't like me the way I am, then I don't want to work for you anyway."

I definitely share your questions about the major and minor writing requirements, though. I think journal work might be good for that.

-- MichaelBerkovits - 14 Apr 2008

A quick note about writing requirements: I know that if you are a moot court coach/editor, you can get major writing credit for doing a bench memo by yourself, and minor writing credit for doing a bench memo with another person.

Also, you can write a note, even if you aren't on a journal. It has less of a chance of being published, but that doesn't matter for getting credit, and you get the trade-off of not having to do endless bluebooking.

-- AmandaHungerford - 15 Apr 2008

According to a professor I spoke to today at the course advising session, many students choose to write a note stemming out of a seminar they're taking.

-- MichaelBerkovits - 15 Apr 2008








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r14 - 11 Jan 2010 - 16:56:00 - IanSullivan
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