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You've identified the primary drawbacks of Curriculum B. Many people deride it as not being "real" law school. And some employers may question it. I heard a story this fall of a student who had signed up for Curic. B, but when her mother found out (a GULC grad & current judge), she forced her to change to the standard curriculum.

I wanted to experience the traditional first year and opted for Curic A. If you're interested in the alternate curriculum (and you seem to be: given your public interest focus, and non-law interests), I say go for it. Provided you know of the potential drawbacks.

One other thought: you may want to look at which professors are teaching Curic B next year. More than specific subjects, I think a great professor makes all the difference.


Hey D –

Thanks for the thoughts. I agree with you on the professors.

I guess I’m not surprised some people would have trouble with any program that breaks away from standard practice. I’m guessing there’s probably something of an esprit de corps among LS graduates via the standard first year curriculum; it affords something of a common experience. Curriculum B might violate that to some extent.

Yet oddly enough, one thing I don’t hear is a glowing reverence (retrospectively or otherwise) for the first year structure itself. Are there people who sing its praises? If there are, I haven’t read anything by them. In fact, there seems to be something of a healthy critique of the effectiveness of the standard first year law school curriculum (actually the critique is somewhat broader and seems to be centered on the effectiveness of the “Socratic Method” as a teaching tool and the final skill set law schools give you in relation to what’s required to effectively practice law.) The first year nearly always seems to be presented as a system you have to approach and beat – not as an educational environment which will take it upon itself to get you where you need to be by the final exam.

Let’s turn this around for a second: How would the general law student react if I said that I wasn’t going to avail myself of anything but the classroom instruction, official university resources, and my own native skills?

Or to expand a bit, that I expected to be able to leave law school and pass the bar without additional preparation? That after I passed the bar on the first go, I’d set up shop later that week as an independent practitioner?

Hmm. Granted, we’re getting pretty far afield from A and B, but sometimes I like to take a look at the big picture.

So I’m left wondering if we’re just dealing with an ingrained system – like the brutality which is medical residency. I mean, there’s no evidence that the Socratic method actually is the most effective way to teach future lawyers. It seems to have worked well enough thusfar (in the context of students teaching one another and a slew of “extra-curricular” study guides, approaches, courses, etc.), but that’s not really proof.

As long as the processes and information is in your head when the bell rings, does it matter how it gets there?

I don’t know if B is a better alternative (and it’s not like I’m speaking from experience here anyway).

As a side note, the story about the student who was forced to transfer from B to A leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I had to deal with something quite similar. I have to ask, will this student ever fully respect Judge/Alum Mom? I really hope not.

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