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In “The Paper Chase,” Professor Kingsfield said “we teach you to think; you teach yourself the law.” While the quote may not be exact, the point remains the same and the notion is just as absurd now as it was then. When I first heard that phrase three years ago, I had no idea that it was the model upon which much of my law school education would be based. I was advised that I should watch “The Paper Chase” prior to my first day of classes so that I would know what to expect from the Socratic method; I had no idea that that the movie would be the predicate for so much more. It has been a relief that most of the teachers at Quinnipiac University School of Law do not try to invoke the teeth-chattering fear that Professor Kingsfield was able to instill in his students. Don’t get me wrong; there are a few professors lurking in the halls of Quinnipiac whose names cause some students to tremble in fear. And it is unfortunate that some of the professors have held true to Professor Kingsfield’s notion that it is not the professor’s responsibility to teach the students the law; that the task is one we must take upon ourselves. Think back to earlier days of your education. What I miss most about high school, for instance, are the teachers. They did not lecture, they did not preach, they did not employ the Socratic method; they taught. Teaching was their job; it was what they were paid for and what they did well. It was their responsibility to teach us, not to work on outside research projects aimed at enhancing the reputation of the school. Unlike high school teachers, many law school professors are not full time faculty; they spend the majority of their time researching obscure concepts about impossible theories, or working at other jobs. They do not necessarily teach, nor, it seems, are they expected to by the school. It seems that in some instances, a professor’s primary responsibility is to use his position to increase the academic standing of the university through intellectual achievement, rather than by instructing students. A prevalent attitude among professors, I am told, is that they think that their teaching style, whatever it may be, is “good enough,” because they are not seriously evaluated by the administration unless serious problems arise. However, as we all know, “good enough,” is never good enough. What exactly qualifies an individual to teach at this level? I used to think that, at a bare minimum, a law school professor had to be an attorney, but that is not necessarily the case. There are many paths that one can follow to become a law professor. You can simply graduate from an accredited law school, know the right people, or be sufficiently bookish enough to warrant tenure. I have been informed that law school professors are not required to have had any formal or specialized training in the art of teaching, and need not have even passed the bar. When I was in high school, almost all of my teachers had degrees in teaching; they were indoctrinated in the art of instructing others. In law schools, the professors do not necessarily have such formal training. Peer evaluation and teaching seminars are available, but are often not taken advantage of due to a variety of reasons, such as time constraints and ego. Many professors simply lecture us, and some can’t even do that well, so they simply reread the text to us, as if we were incapable of doing so ourselves. I know that Quinnipiac professors are no different from those at any other law school, aside from the fact that most of them take their teaching responsibilities far more seriously than do their Ivy League and first tier counterparts. The professors here ride us harder than professors at most other schools; they assign more work, the exams are more difficult, and then there’s the C curve. But even with all this, problems still exist. It seems that the only requirement necessary to become a law school professor is an Ivy League education. If society requires a degree in teaching to instruct children, why is that requirement not imposed on those who would teach us the law? Isn’t the proper instruction of the law just as important to a future lawyer as the multiplication tables are to a grade school student? We are the attorneys of the future. We are the politicians, professors and judges of the new millennium. Quinnipiac claims to be the law school of the future. Maybe the time has come to deep-six the traditions of old and create a new method of instruction whose foundation lies in professional teaching. It is clear to me that lecturing is not an ideal teaching method. Further, the Socratic method may prepare students for what lies ahead in courtrooms, but it is not the way that the subject of law should be taught.

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