Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

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mbutterfly
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Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby mbutterfly » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:43 pm

Here's a question for all law school students:

Does Westlaw, LexisNexis, Barbri, Kaplan, or any other company have a really big presence in your law school or even classroom settings?

At my school, almost every day, atleast two (usually all four) are handing out candy, donuts, pens, all kinds of goodies and soliciting 1Ls and 2Ls to "lock-in" a rate.

Our legal writing class also has 2 mandatory sessions that all 1Ls must attend for Westlaw and LexisNexis.

So for my article, I just wanted to get a vibe to see how other law school students felt about this. Sure, they're handing out lots of free and tasty things, but does it make you think like there is an omniscient presence with these companies in an academic setting?

I have begun to think they are somewhat predatory -- they prey on the anxiety of 1Ls and commit them to "lock-in" a rate so they will be committed in 3 years.

Every time I ask for the justification of why prices rise each year if you sign up as a 2L or 3L, they don't really give me a clear answer. Also, bar review courses, about 8-10 years ago, were significantly more modestly priced (duh, accounting for inflation), It seems as if these big, monied-interests have made deals with the administrations for access to this academic setting.

Any notes, observations, rebuttals are welcome.

Thank you for your help!

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OGR3
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby OGR3 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:55 pm

How much tuition are you paying? That's predatory.

Obviously they're going to take advantage of 1L anxiety. It's been a very successful business model for the supplement makers for decades.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:05 pm

Can you explain what you mean about the omniscient presence?

I'm pretty comfortable with it because they're all in competition with one another. If it was just one huge company, I might feel different.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:16 pm

We have mandatory sessions for both and we get some pens and flash drives but no candy or food or anything. Westlaw Next rules everything in terms of what students use though.

Sean Bateman
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Sean Bateman » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:22 pm

One or the other is here every day. had the 2 mandatory sessions. Westlaw Next owns.

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Lonagan
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Lonagan » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Yeah they are all over the place at Minnesota. It gets annoying.

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Iconoclast
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:52 am

It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.

mbutterfly
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby mbutterfly » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:47 am

Excellent feedback, I appreciate everyone's input. It let me see the error of my biased perspective.

Does anyone know any information on how much Westlaw/LexisNexis charge to law firms? I also hear that within 2-3 years, they are going to change up the pricing model soon. Instead of unlimited access, like we have now, they will be charging per use. Anyone know any truth to this matter?

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Iconoclast
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:42 pm

mbutterfly wrote:Excellent feedback, I appreciate everyone's input. It let me see the error of my biased perspective.

Does anyone know any information on how much Westlaw/LexisNexis charge to law firms? I also hear that within 2-3 years, they are going to change up the pricing model soon. Instead of unlimited access, like we have now, they will be charging per use. Anyone know any truth to this matter?


My understanding is that they offer both types of pricing already. You can pay for "all you can eat" use, or you can pay per use. I don't have any idea how much it costs or if they have plans to change their pricing.

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Lonagan
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Lonagan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:45 pm

Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

It's a crock and a sham. If law schools had any interest in teaching research and writing they would make it an actual course with actual instructors. 50 minutes a week with a student instructor and practicing attorney just doesn't cut it.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:54 pm

Lonagan wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

It's a crock and a sham. If law schools had any interest in teaching research and writing they would make it an actual course with actual instructors. 50 minutes a week with a student instructor and practicing attorney just doesn't cut it.


I totally agree with you. AutoCAD does the same.

Damn them for trying to influence me by giving me training on something that 95% of all jobs in the field require.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:56 pm

Lonagan wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

+1,000

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gwuorbust
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:59 pm

ResolutePear wrote:I totally agree with you. AutoCAD does the same.

Damn them for trying to influence me by giving me training on something that 95% of all jobs in the field require.


it's not like some kind of cryptic language we are talking about here; it is equivalent to an extra advanced google search, minus the bogus blogs/porn websites

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JG Hall
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby JG Hall » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:00 pm

1) The reason why you should lock-in BarBri prices as a 1L? Because your firm will pay your BarBri dues, but for firms that don't use direct billing, the money they give you is equivalent to the current cost of a BarBri class, and you get to pocket the rest. It's a way to make a few hundred bucks that costs you nothing.

2) Go to Wexis sessions because each one nets your about 400 points.
Last edited by JG Hall on Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Iconoclast
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Iconoclast » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:00 pm

Lonagan wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

It's a crock and a sham. If law schools had any interest in teaching research and writing they would make it an actual course with actual instructors. 50 minutes a week with a student instructor and practicing attorney just doesn't cut it.


Guess I'm just lucky then. We only had one presentation for each to attend, and they were both useful. As for schools not teaching legal writing, I guess it depends on the school. My legal research and writing class is a 6 hour, graded class. We have TAs, but no student instructors.

Do lexis and westlaw want to get us hooked on their products? Sure they do. And, if you want to practice - you should probably get hooked on one or the other. Going to law school and complaining that you are being forced to use industry standard tools in your class is kind of... well... dumb.

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Panther7
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Panther7 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:06 pm

JG Hall wrote:1) The reason why you should lock-in BarBri prices as a 1L? Because your firm will pay your BarBri dues, but for firms that don't use direct billing, the money they give you is equivalent to the current cost of a BarBri class, and you get to pocket the rest. It's a way to make a few hundred bucks that costs you nothing.

2) Go to Wexis sessions because each one nets your about 400 points.



What is this "BarBri" you guys talk about?


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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ResolutePear
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:07 pm

Panther7 wrote:
JG Hall wrote:1) The reason why you should lock-in BarBri prices as a 1L? Because your firm will pay your BarBri dues, but for firms that don't use direct billing, the money they give you is equivalent to the current cost of a BarBri class, and you get to pocket the rest. It's a way to make a few hundred bucks that costs you nothing.

2) Go to Wexis sessions because each one nets your about 400 points.



What is this "BarBri" you guys talk about?


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


I think he means "BarBie"

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Lonagan
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Lonagan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:14 pm

Iconoclast wrote:
Lonagan wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

It's a crock and a sham. If law schools had any interest in teaching research and writing they would make it an actual course with actual instructors. 50 minutes a week with a student instructor and practicing attorney just doesn't cut it.


Guess I'm just lucky then. We only had one presentation for each to attend, and they were both useful. As for schools not teaching legal writing, I guess it depends on the school. My legal research and writing class is a 6 hour, graded class. We have TAs, but no student instructors.

Do lexis and westlaw want to get us hooked on their products? Sure they do. And, if you want to practice - you should probably get hooked on one or the other. Going to law school and complaining that you are being forced to use industry standard tools in your class is kind of... well... dumb.


I suppose I should allowed for the possibility that it isn't the same everywhere. If it's better at your school then more power to you.

My complaint is not that we are forced to use industry standard methods and resources. It's the way they are taught, and the interests and incentives in place for those doing the "teaching". BTW, none of what I wrote is intended to be a slam on the actual people involved at my school. The Lexis and Westlaw reps are really nice, smart, etc. My LRW instructors are awesome. They are just in a stupid and ineffective system and it's really hard for people in broken systems to overcome them.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:01 pm

Lonagan wrote:My complaint is not that we are forced to use industry standard methods and resources. It's the way they are taught, and the interests and incentives in place for those doing the "teaching". BTW, none of what I wrote is intended to be a slam on the actual people involved at my school. The Lexis and Westlaw reps are really nice, smart, etc. My LRW instructors are awesome. They are just in a stupid and ineffective system and it's really hard for people in broken systems to overcome them.

I mean, do you feel teaching would be better if it were taught by a neutral party?

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stratocophic
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby stratocophic » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:07 pm

Lonagan wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:It's not like the mandatory Westlaw/Nexis sessions are some sort of corporate intrusion into the ivory tower of academia.

The mandatory sessions are to help you learn to use the industry standard research tools... which are vital to you both your legal writing grade, and your ability to actually work as a lawyer. If you had to sit through a mandatory bar-bri or Kaplan sales presentation, then I could see the problem. But the Westlaw and Lexis presentations aren't sales pitches. They are training sessions.

It's funny that people complain about how law school is too theoretical/abstract and doesn't prepare you to actually practice law - and then turn around and cry foul when the school actually tries to give them some practical training.


They are absolutely sales pitches. Schools let Lexis / Westlaw "teach" legal research because it means the schools don't have to pay for it. Lexis / Westlaw are there for the sole purpose of getting people hooked on their product. I have quit going to the sessions because what are they going to do? Kick me out of law school? Send a note home to my parents? I would go if they were at all helpful in teaching legal research. Instead it is just a blur of projected internet demonstrations. If you are sitting in the back of the room full of 250 students you had better squint real hard because if you miss a single citation they type in you will be off track and lost for the rest of the session. I would rather throw tacks in my bed than go to another bullshit Lexis / Westlaw session.

It's a crock and a sham. If law schools had any interest in teaching research and writing they would make it an actual course with actual instructors. 50 minutes a week with a student instructor and practicing attorney just doesn't cut it.
If you're getting weekly pizza I'll trade you my instructor.
Panther7 wrote:
JG Hall wrote:1) The reason why you should lock-in BarBri prices as a 1L? Because your firm will pay your BarBri dues, but for firms that don't use direct billing, the money they give you is equivalent to the current cost of a BarBri class, and you get to pocket the rest. It's a way to make a few hundred bucks that costs you nothing.

2) Go to Wexis sessions because each one nets your about 400 points.



What is this "BarBri" you guys talk about?


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Friggin' Wisconsin, no need to rub it in our faces :x

Aqualibrium
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:16 pm

I really don't understand Lexis and Westlaw though. I get that they are trying to get us to get comfortable with one or the other, with the hope of us making it our engine of choice when we begin to practice. The issue is, when you work at a firm, gov agency, PI shop, etc...you don't get to choose which engine you use. You use whatever they already have. Period.

Hell, partners don't even have a say. One of the firms I worked at last summer used Westlaw for nearly 10 years, but was able to get a better deal with Lexis. The more senior partners (i.e. people who don't even use Lexis or Westlaw) decided to make the switch. All summer long all the more junior partners, associates, paralegals, etc... just bitched and moaned about how much they hated Lexis.

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Cupidity
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Cupidity » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:24 pm

They give me coffee.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:48 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I really don't understand Lexis and Westlaw though. I get that they are trying to get us to get comfortable with one or the other, with the hope of us making it our engine of choice when we begin to practice. The issue is, when you work at a firm, gov agency, PI shop, etc...you don't get to choose which engine you use. You use whatever they already have. Period.

Hell, partners don't even have a say. One of the firms I worked at last summer used Westlaw for nearly 10 years, but was able to get a better deal with Lexis. The more senior partners (i.e. people who don't even use Lexis or Westlaw) decided to make the switch. All summer long all the more junior partners, associates, paralegals, etc... just bitched and moaned about how much they hated Lexis.

Just to offer another perspective, some (many? most?) biglaw firms use both.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:58 pm

Yeah, I don't know how many use both...I'm sure it happens though. Just for perspective, I worked at a 60 man firm that used only Lexis, and a 400 man firm that used only Westlaw.

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Lonagan
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Re: Question for all law school students for a newspaper article

Postby Lonagan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:59 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Lonagan wrote:My complaint is not that we are forced to use industry standard methods and resources. It's the way they are taught, and the interests and incentives in place for those doing the "teaching". BTW, none of what I wrote is intended to be a slam on the actual people involved at my school. The Lexis and Westlaw reps are really nice, smart, etc. My LRW instructors are awesome. They are just in a stupid and ineffective system and it's really hard for people in broken systems to overcome them.

I mean, do you feel teaching would be better if it were taught by a neutral party?


I do.




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