Thought For The Week: “Our characters are the result of our conduct.” Aristotle

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In Praise of Court TV

This —praising court TV —may sound strange coming from me.  I try to stay above the fray.  No Night Court for me!  I am a professional.

So you will understand why I am not truly proud of finding myself “glued to the tube” for the last two days watching a televised hearing in the Georgia case involving the allegations of election interference against former President Trump.  The hearing is, in my opinion, a great departure and distraction from the important issues involved in the case, nevertheless I recognize that it has value.  For law junkies like me, but, most important, for law students and entry-level lawyers.

I am a child of the law.  My interest in law started when I was a small child and my lawyer Dad took me to his office from time to time.  On some of those days, he and I would walk to the courthouse where I would sit on a bench in the hallway while my Dad met briefly with the judge or with the clerk of court to file a paper.  I had no idea what those papers were all about, but I loved just being in the historic courthouse with its high ceilings and huge portraits of men in black robes too high for me to see clearly but lending to the feel of serious business.

The rest is history.  I never gave up those early feelings of reverence that blossomed full into what I am today and have been for the last 45 years of my life.  A law junkie.  And that law junkie part of me has been on full view over the last few days.  Whether I like it or not.

Some people, including me, wish that cameras were allowed in the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court.  That could be very instructive and provide the opportunity to see and hear some of the great legal minds of our times at work, both judges and litigants.  But it is not the best opportunity to view what is most important for young lawyers to know and to learn.

That distinction goes to the trial courts where cameras are allowed in many jurisdictions today.  That is where you learn how to address the judge, how to question a witness, how to respond to objections from opposing counsel, how to move documents into evidence, and how to make persuasive arguments pertaining to both the facts and the law. It is where you are not impressed by the stateliness of the surroundings and where those in the courtroom remind you of the common folks you see and hear every day.  Those are the courtrooms and the people of your future, at least for most of you.

So, tune in with me and watch what is going on in a trial court in Georgia.  And visit local trial courts in person.  Take a break from studying contracts or billing hours.  Sit in the back of the courtroom for awhile and take it all in.  Imagine yourself doing it.

Oops …  I have to go.  Court is back in session!

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Thought For The Week: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Peter Drucker

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Pre-Law Students Have a Choice: Logic Games or No Logic Games

Logic games, including those on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), are a nightmare for many people.  Nothing new there.  But what is new is that the LSAT soon will not include logic games.

The inclusion of logic games on the LSAT has been challenged by students with disabilities, and, in response, the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, has decided to cut its losses and get rid of logic games.

That decision creates a choice for pre-law students and others anticipating law school application.  For those who decide to take the LSAT and are OK with logic games, they still have an opportunity to take the traditional format, which includes logic games, until the end of the 2023-2024 test cycle.  And for those who are not OK with logic games, waiting until after August 2024 is for you.

And for all of those who took the LSAT in the past and were not OK with logic games, there is no remedy for you!  That includes me.  Logic games nearly made me break out in hives on the LSAT, but I was perfectly fine with logical reasoning in law school.  Go figure.

You can read more about it here.

And you also need to remember that the LSAT is not the only show in town.   Some law schools now accept other proficiency and predictive tests in lieu of the LSAT.  It is important for all applicants to do research long before law school application deadlines and in time to apply for the test of choice.

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Thought For The Week: “There will always be someone who can’t see your worth. Don’t let it be you.” Mel Robbins

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Undergraduate Law Reviews: A Novel and Valuable Concept

If you are a college or university undergraduate and are interested in a career in the law, writing for a law review or law journal would be a very useful tool to use as leverage when applying to law schools.  However, most colleges and universities do not offer that opportunity.  And the law schools on those campuses do not allow undergraduate students to publish articles in the law schools’ reviews or journals.

However, that is changing.  A recent article in the Daily Tarheel  announced the founding of the Undergraduate Law Association at the University of North Carolina (UNC).  The organization intends to publish law journal articles written by undergraduate students, establish a moot court program, and work with UNC Law School on projects.

This is not the first time an undergraduate college or university has taken similar steps to give interested students an edge on acceptance to law school.  Other undergraduate law reviews exist across the country at schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Stanford University and College of the Holy Cross.  However, programs like this are still novel.

I had experience with students in one of those programs some years ago when I spoke to the students enrolled in the undergraduate law review program at College of the Holy Cross.  Those students were interested in hearing about the subjects included in my book series for young lawyers, and it was a very rewarding experience for me.  The students were very capable, well-informed, dedicated to their cause and anxious to learn as much as possible to prepare themselves for success in law school and legal practice.  And they put out an impressive product.  At the time, I believe that the program at College of the Holy Cross was one of the only such programs in the country, and I was inspired by the vision of the founders there.

Likewise, bravo to the UNC students who envisioned this new program.  I wish them good luck.  Establishing a platform for undergraduates, by undergraduates, is a heavy lift. Most law journals are run by current law students and feature articles by professors, other law students and practicing attorneys.  Undergraduates need not apply!

But change is in the air. I hope these programs are very successful and establish a trend.

 

 

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