What They Don’t Teach You in Law School

I stumbled across this post by Marc Luber yesterday that I thought I would share.

Marc identifies five different things that are not taught in law school:

  1. How to be a Lawyer
  2. Career Planning
  3. Legal Career Paths
  4. Alternative Careers for Lawyers
  5. How to Sell your Legal Skills to Employers

It was 10 years ago that I entered my first year of law school. All five of the items mentioned by Marc were as true in 2003 as they are in 2013. With law school enrolment numbers up, and articling placements becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, it still boggles my mind that law schools do not address items 2 – 5 in a more substantive way.

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Comments

  1. I’m articling right now, and I’d have to disagree to a large extent with this list. Not everyone learns all of these things, but Queen’s Law has a broad range of clinic experiences where law students get to work directly with clients under supervision. Over the three years, if you get involved, you can do a lot of legal work and get a good idea of how to be a lawyer.

    Career planning was not as well covered, but efforts are certainly being made and all kinds of profs, clubs and events highlighted the traditionl and alternative paths that are available to law grads.

    Selling your legal skills to employers is definitely the least well covered of these items, but resources are certainly available.

    If you want to rename the list “Five things a lot of people don’t pay attention too enough while in law school”, you might be accurate, but saying that these thigns aren’t taught is simply wrong and doesn’t really contribute much.

  2. You can probably add to the list (or append to 5) Business Development. Particularly in a small firm once you land the job you need to be ready to help bring in enough money to keep your job.

    Independent development of business networks, client development, and client retention is so important. I’m not sure that law school imparts these practical commercial considerations. Being the best researcher or writer is not always enough.

  3. You’re 100% correct Tim.

    The problem with my law school was that we didn’t have a soul on faculty with a hot clue about any of the things mentioned. Their occasional faint attempts at giving career or business advice were good for comic relief and not much else.

    If you’re going to do something like this, get a successful practitioner and keep it completely out of reach of tenured faculty.