Sunday, July 10, 2005

For the New Law Student

Gordon Smith at Conglomerate posed the question "If you could recommend only one book for an incoming law student, what would it be?"

Larry Ribstein recommended a book, a movie, and a song.

None of these, however, either speak to law students via the medium they are most attached to nor will they really prepare a law student for the challenges of professional practice that lie ahead (with the possible exception of Larry's recommendation of the Clash's version of I Fought the Law and the Law Won).

To remedy those omissions, I recommend a television series, namely Rumpole of the Bailey. Here, you have a fictional character who faces real life problems: clients who consistently lie to him, more successful partners who are constantly trying to stab him in the back, a spouse who doesn't understand why he's not as successful as her father, and judges who are his intellectual inferiors and who display a consistent pro-prosecutor bias. Yet, he perseveres. Kinda like most of the practicing lawyers I know.

Memo to Law School Professors: Law school should, in addition to training students in the intellectual discipline of the legal system, prepare them to practice as well.

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