Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
Snooker
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:50 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Snooker » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:42 pm

Dick Whitman wrote:
OperaAttorney wrote:
mallard wrote:It doesn't take an eminent legal reasoner to deduce that when law professors are lazy and ask absurdly open-ended ("So what do we make of this case?") or oddly menial ("Recite the facts of the case") questions, the people most likely to respond are attention-seeking.


+ 1.

I always rolled my mind's eyes when my civ pro prof asked the expert of the day to recite the facts of the case. Seriously?


If you don't like to do it, imagine how the professor feels.


The Professor probably loves it. Seriously. They have to give an hour of class every day. What's the best way to cut down on time spent preparing for class? The Socratic method! just take a case you've been reading for 10 years and talk about it in class, refusing to answer specific questions about the law for fear your lack of knowledge will be exposed. I had a professor socratically rock a tough case one class, but afterwards I realized I didn't know how to apply it, so I asked by email. Turns out, neither did the professor, so secondary sources were consulted before I got an answer.

User avatar
Dick Whitman
Posts: 232
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:55 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Dick Whitman » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:39 am

Snooker wrote:
Dick Whitman wrote:
OperaAttorney wrote:
mallard wrote:It doesn't take an eminent legal reasoner to deduce that when law professors are lazy and ask absurdly open-ended ("So what do we make of this case?") or oddly menial ("Recite the facts of the case") questions, the people most likely to respond are attention-seeking.


+ 1.

I always rolled my mind's eyes when my civ pro prof asked the expert of the day to recite the facts of the case. Seriously?


If you don't like to do it, imagine how the professor feels.


The Professor probably loves it. Seriously. They have to give an hour of class every day. What's the best way to cut down on time spent preparing for class? The Socratic method! just take a case you've been reading for 10 years and talk about it in class, refusing to answer specific questions about the law for fear your lack of knowledge will be exposed. I had a professor socratically rock a tough case one class, but afterwards I realized I didn't know how to apply it, so I asked by email. Turns out, neither did the professor, so secondary sources were consulted before I got an answer.


The Socratic method isn't easy. If the prof really wants to slack, he'll just make the class "present." Any prof who does so should be forced to return his paychecks at the end of the semester.

Snooker
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:50 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Snooker » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:39 am

gatorlion wrote:
wiseowl wrote:
gatorlion wrote:I'll take soft-gunner status over top law school mute any day. It really made me think that a lot of students were just there because of a good LSAT score and not necessarily because they were engaged intellectuals. Gunners simply thin the herd...


with logic like that you'll get in everywhere you apply, skipper


Not really, but my experience at UCLA really firmed up the idea that what you are on paper does not necessarily translate into classroom performance. While I do not mean to denigrate my classmates, I found debate competitions in high school more intellectually stimulating than my experience in a law school class. Also, when it comes time to interview, ceteris paribus, the more socially adept student from the same law school will likely get the nod over the bookish church mouse with good scores but no social graces.


I agree for the most part. The people I've met in law school just don't have the sort of intellectual interests I've found in other places.

Snooker
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:50 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Snooker » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:41 am

Dick Whitman wrote:
Snooker wrote:
The Professor probably loves it. Seriously. They have to give an hour of class every day. What's the best way to cut down on time spent preparing for class? The Socratic method! just take a case you've been reading for 10 years and talk about it in class, refusing to answer specific questions about the law for fear your lack of knowledge will be exposed. I had a professor socratically rock a tough case one class, but afterwards I realized I didn't know how to apply it, so I asked by email. Turns out, neither did the professor, so secondary sources were consulted before I got an answer.


The Socratic method isn't easy. If the prof really wants to slack, he'll just make the class "present." Any prof who does so should be forced to return his paychecks at the end of the semester.


I agree that there is a hierarchy of laziness. The ghastly method you describe is probably the lowest.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:57 am

gatorlion wrote:
wiseowl wrote:
gatorlion wrote:I'll take soft-gunner status over top law school mute any day. It really made me think that a lot of students were just there because of a good LSAT score and not necessarily because they were engaged intellectuals. Gunners simply thin the herd...


with logic like that you'll get in everywhere you apply, skipper


Not really, but my experience at UCLA really firmed up the idea that what you are on paper does not necessarily translate into classroom performance. While I do not mean to denigrate my classmates, I found debate competitions in high school more intellectually stimulating than my experience in a law school class. Also, when it comes time to interview, ceteris paribus, the more socially adept student from the same law school will likely get the nod over the bookish church mouse with good scores but no social graces.



Three Points:

Everything I have observed so far has told me that classroom performance probably does not matter for anything outside of, perhaps, personal entertainment or the occasional clarification of a legitimate inquiry.

I tend to shut up because what I am thinking isn't as important to me as the 5 or 6 other hands in the air at any given point. They tend to really seem to want to talk. I am more than happy to step aside.

I don't want to be an "engaged intellectual." I want to be a kick ass lawyer.

User avatar
Aeroplane
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Aeroplane » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:15 am

prezidentv8 wrote: Three Points:

Everything I have observed so far has told me that classroom performance probably does not matter for anything outside of, perhaps, personal entertainment or the occasional clarification of a legitimate inquiry.

I tend to shut up because what I am thinking isn't as important to me as the 5 or 6 other hands in the air at any given point. They tend to really seem to want to talk. I am more than happy to step aside.

I don't want to be an "engaged intellectual." I want to be a kick ass lawyer.

+1 to point one. And that's coming from someone who participated very frequently. Probably too much in fact. I talk too much generally in life :oops:

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby mallard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:18 am

I want to be an engaged intellectual but frankly I almost never think a law school class is a proper place for intellectual engagement. Am I going to have some stellar insight on the facts of the case? Will I have an amazing counterpoint to the judge's reasoning? Some novel theory of law, perhaps? Or do you think it's more likely that I'll conclude that there are competing factual, legal, and policy considerations, but I personally (with little to no rationale) find factor x to be the most compelling, which suggests that y decision is the right one?

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:30 am

mallard wrote:I want to be an engaged intellectual but frankly I almost never think a law school class is a proper place for intellectual engagement. Am I going to have some stellar insight on the facts of the case? Will I have an amazing counterpoint to the judge's reasoning? Some novel theory of law, perhaps? Or do you think it's more likely that I'll conclude that there are competing factual, legal, and policy considerations, but I personally (with little to no rationale) find factor x to be the most compelling, which suggests that y decision is the right one?


Nailed it. And that's why you go to the big H.

jh60405
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:22 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby jh60405 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:35 am

This coming from a 0L who has yet to even observe a class . . .

I imagine that a question like "state the facts of the case" garners no responses because its a boring question. No one wants to state facts - if you've read you know the facts. There were hundreds of times in undergrad where professors claimed they wanted to have discussion but would only pose questions where there was one clear and obvious factual answer. Its a total waste of time to do something like that.

Now going over theories of what to make of a case seems like something worth talking about. And I would be more inclined to take some shots at that. I found that in undergrad the professors whose classes did have good and interesting discussion/perticipation asked questions more like that - where there's a multitude of different ways of applying and mixing theories and methods to solve a problem. This is the kind of thing that's worth spending time doing.

User avatar
mallard
Posts: 1092
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:45 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby mallard » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:40 am

jh60405 wrote:Now going over theories of what to make of a case seems like something worth talking about. And I would be more inclined to take some shots at that. I found that in undergrad the professors whose classes did have good and interesting discussion/perticipation asked questions more like that - where there's a multitude of different ways of applying and mixing theories and methods to solve a problem. This is the kind of thing that's worth spending time doing.


This actually tends to be a rather trite process.

User avatar
macattaq
Posts: 441
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:46 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby macattaq » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:07 am

prezidentv8 wrote:I don't want to be an "engaged intellectual." I want to be a kick ass lawyer.


They are mutually exclusive?

User avatar
steve_nash
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:35 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby steve_nash » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:58 am

.
Last edited by steve_nash on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dresden doll
Posts: 6802
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:11 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby dresden doll » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:08 am

Snooker wrote:I agree for the most part. The people I've met in law school just don't have the sort of intellectual interests I've found in other places.


Huh. People at U of C are very intellectually engaged. Hand raising is rampant. Even so, we get plenty of cold calling plus the Socratic method. Professors just like to use it.

I really don't mind, though. Being cold called on really forces you to think as opposed to just zoning out. I personally sometimes wish I was called on more. No one has really Socratic methoded me yet.

User avatar
JazzOne
Posts: 2938
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:04 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby JazzOne » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:08 pm

steve_nash wrote:As much as I love Volokh, I hate the volunteer system, and I hate participating. I rarely participate, and I don't think that's hurt my learning experience. The questions the professor asks are so patently obvious it seems show-offish to answer them. I simply prefer cold-calling. At least in my experience, people (including myself) who want to ask questions will ask them, even if the prof is ruthlessly socratic.

I have also had professors who ridiculed students who did volunteer, so that doesn't help encourage volunteering, either.

My contracts professor was pretty brutal to people who volunteered to answer his questions. He would toss out these softballs, and then when some smart ass piped up with a response, the professor would ask him/her a ridiculous follow-up question that was basically impossible for a 1L to answer intelligently. It was rather amusing really, but the class participation plummeted.

User avatar
gatorlion
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:23 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby gatorlion » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:27 pm

Maybe I'm a bit of a romantic in this regard, but I had hopes of law school being some kind of intense intellectual atmosphere but it turned out to be less stimulating than my smaller PhD classes where we were encouraged to probe theories, challenge methodology, etc.

User avatar
wiseowl
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby wiseowl » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:31 pm

gatorlion wrote:Maybe I'm a bit of a romantic in this regard, but I had hopes of law school being some kind of intense intellectual atmosphere but it turned out to be less stimulating than my smaller PhD classes where we were encouraged to probe theories, challenge methodology, etc.


they are programs with fundamentally different goals and fundamentally different applicants. the majority of Ph.D. students plan to spend their lives in academia doing the "probing" you just described. Not unusual for a degree that trains you to probe to model probing in its coursework.

on the other hand, the J.D. is by and large a professional credential. law students do become academics, but probably at a rate of 5% or less. also add in the pressure by firms to produce "first-day" lawyers who show up able to try cases and bill hours, not wax poetic about a deep theory.

my law school experience has been completely different from my grad school experience, and i would have failed both if i took an identical approach and mindset into them.

User avatar
gatorlion
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:23 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby gatorlion » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:53 pm

wiseowl wrote:
gatorlion wrote:Maybe I'm a bit of a romantic in this regard, but I had hopes of law school being some kind of intense intellectual atmosphere but it turned out to be less stimulating than my smaller PhD classes where we were encouraged to probe theories, challenge methodology, etc.


they are programs with fundamentally different goals and fundamentally different applicants. the majority of Ph.D. students plan to spend their lives in academia doing the "probing" you just described. Not unusual for a degree that trains you to probe to model probing in its coursework.

on the other hand, the J.D. is by and large a professional credential. law students do become academics, but probably at a rate of 5% or less. also add in the pressure by firms to produce "first-day" lawyers who show up able to try cases and bill hours, not wax poetic about a deep theory.

my law school experience has been completely different from my grad school experience, and i would have failed both if i took an identical approach and mindset into them.


I understand, but I guess I was just hoping for more than basically older undergrads who wanted to know what was going to be on the test. I'm sure not every law school is the same, nor are all classes within a given law school. It is also possible that my experience had something to do with the fact that about 50% of the people in my class were LLM students.

User avatar
wiseowl
Posts: 1071
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby wiseowl » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:00 pm

gatorlion wrote:I understand, but I guess I was just hoping for more than basically older undergrads who wanted to know what was going to be on the test. I'm sure not every law school is the same, nor are all classes within a given law school. It is also possible that my experience had something to do with the fact that about 50% of the people in my class were LLM students.


the LLM quotient very well could have been a factor.

students do "care about what's on the test" unfortunately because there are few degree programs where objective numerical stats matter more.

last in the class at med school is still an MD and gets a job. last in the class at dental school is still a dentist and gets a job. last in the class in a Ph.D. program, if they even have grades, gets weeded out early, but if they survive they still have the credential, and not much debt oftentimes.

last in the class in law school? good luck.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:37 pm

.
Last edited by prezidentv8 on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

VincentChase
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:16 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby VincentChase » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:09 pm

I honestly don't understand the "I'm too cool for speaking in class" vibe here.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:26 pm

VincentChase wrote:I honestly don't understand the "I'm too cool for speaking in class" vibe here.


I'm not too cool...I just usually don't have a compelling reason to say anything.

User avatar
Lawl Shcool
Posts: 763
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:44 pm

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby Lawl Shcool » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:41 pm

If I have something to say, I say it. I don't keep track of a quota or anything dumb like that and as a result I will have days where I raise my hand 3-4 times in a class and 0 times in another class. I like to think that I add to the discussion, but if I don't who cares? Your not graded on class participation so there is really only positives to participating more, provided you're not obnoxious about it (i.e the prof knows who you are, you get questions answered, etc). The whole being overly socially conscious thing is a weird aspect of law school.

User avatar
gatorlion
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:23 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby gatorlion » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:16 pm

JPU wrote:If I have something to say, I say it. I don't keep track of a quota or anything dumb like that and as a result I will have days where I raise my hand 3-4 times in a class and 0 times in another class. I like to think that I add to the discussion, but if I don't who cares? Your not graded on class participation so there is really only positives to participating more, provided you're not obnoxious about it (i.e the prof knows who you are, you get questions answered, etc). The whole being overly socially conscious thing is a weird aspect of law school.


As someone who teaches UGs, I can tell you that it helps me remember their names more and probably fosters a better impression of them (provided they aren't obnoxious). I have never had to write a rec letter for a student who did not talk or participate in class because, aside from a test score, I don't know anything about them. When it comes time to sign up for clinics, research, or general networking, I'd rather err on the side of getting my money out of the tuition I'm paying by asking questions, regardless of the stage fright or malaise of students who are merely in class to fill a seat. Just my 2 cents...

VincentChase
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:16 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby VincentChase » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:09 pm

gatorlion wrote:
JPU wrote:If I have something to say, I say it. I don't keep track of a quota or anything dumb like that and as a result I will have days where I raise my hand 3-4 times in a class and 0 times in another class. I like to think that I add to the discussion, but if I don't who cares? Your not graded on class participation so there is really only positives to participating more, provided you're not obnoxious about it (i.e the prof knows who you are, you get questions answered, etc). The whole being overly socially conscious thing is a weird aspect of law school.


As someone who teaches UGs, I can tell you that it helps me remember their names more and probably fosters a better impression of them (provided they aren't obnoxious). I have never had to write a rec letter for a student who did not talk or participate in class because, aside from a test score, I don't know anything about them. When it comes time to sign up for clinics, research, or general networking, I'd rather err on the side of getting my money out of the tuition I'm paying by asking questions, regardless of the stage fright or malaise of students who are merely in class to fill a seat. Just my 2 cents...


You raise a good point.

How do you silent people approach professors for recs? Get to know the during office hours? That's reasonable.

User avatar
prezidentv8
Posts: 2821
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Law Professor Eugene Volokh's view on Gunners

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:14 pm

VincentChase wrote:
gatorlion wrote:
JPU wrote:If I have something to say, I say it. I don't keep track of a quota or anything dumb like that and as a result I will have days where I raise my hand 3-4 times in a class and 0 times in another class. I like to think that I add to the discussion, but if I don't who cares? Your not graded on class participation so there is really only positives to participating more, provided you're not obnoxious about it (i.e the prof knows who you are, you get questions answered, etc). The whole being overly socially conscious thing is a weird aspect of law school.


As someone who teaches UGs, I can tell you that it helps me remember their names more and probably fosters a better impression of them (provided they aren't obnoxious). I have never had to write a rec letter for a student who did not talk or participate in class because, aside from a test score, I don't know anything about them. When it comes time to sign up for clinics, research, or general networking, I'd rather err on the side of getting my money out of the tuition I'm paying by asking questions, regardless of the stage fright or malaise of students who are merely in class to fill a seat. Just my 2 cents...


You raise a good point.

How do you silent people approach professors for recs? Get to know the during office hours? That's reasonable.


What would the reasonable quiet student, knowing what he knows or should know, do?




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests