Just some guy wrote:
Sterngard Friegen wrote:
No. You're not going to be able to do this by yourself. You're first going to learn the nomenclature. Then you're going to have to learn how lawyers think. You can't do it by yourself. You need a professional to help you. You need to learn what you don't know, and why you don't know it first. (That's the hard part.) Thinking you can read your way through it will not work. Hasn't worked for lawyers for 150+ years.
I hear you, and I was thinking of an
http://likelincoln.org/?version=meter+a ... inks-click
type of deal.
I've become a bit of a fan of the English approach to legal training, which is more similar to the way we approach medical education in the United States - academic training first, followed by (paid) apprenticeship.
Just some guy wrote:Now for example, how would a professional teach me nomenclature? Books perhaps? statutory construction and interpretation? Words and terms? The blue book? The red book?
You wouldn't be taught nomenclature. You'd be expected to pick it up as you go along. Dictionaries and such are available, but the expectation isn't that you learn what the words mean on paper. It's that you learn how they are used in practice and how context shades their meaning. But there's no instruction in vocabulary.
My first law school assignment - which was provided the Friday before classes started - was to read an edited version of Watts v Watts
, 405 N.W.2d 303 (Wis. 1987). The case was found on pages 295-304 of the casebook. It took me a good 5 or 6 hours to read the case to the point where I thought I understood it; Monday morning, it took the professor a good 5 or 6 minutes to disabuse me of that notion.
Just some guy wrote:Besides the reading, what exactly are they teaching and how? From what I have read and people I have talked to, most law school is learning procedure and legal research.
Very little of law school (at least in my experience) involves learning procedure or research methods. Most of it involves learning how and when to doubt your own understanding and instincts. Much of the rest involves learning when to stop doubting your own understanding and instincts. This is why law can't effectively be learned alone. You will always be less than an optimal devil's advocate for yourself, and you can't learn to really think like a lawyer without a very good devil's advocate challenging your understanding and beliefs at every step.
What law school is really about, IMO, is learning how to learn the law. It's not just learning how to look for sources of information (or even learning what sources to look at first). It's about learning how to find the legally important parts of things, and how to do so quickly. For example, while I've got a certain understanding of investment treaty law, it's not an area that most American lawyers have any background in whatsoever. (For good reason - it's an obscure area that isn't relevant to 99.9% of lawyers.) Nevertheless, I bet that most of the lawyers here could read the Award in Phoenix Action v. Czech Republic
* and fairly quickly figure out what legal principles the case turned on.
I very much doubt that you could do so either as easily or as accurately, even though their knowledge of the substantive law involved probably isn't that far ahead of yours. And that's got nothing to do with raw ability, native intelligence, or anything like that. It's a matter of having learned how to approach the reading, knowing what questions you want to answer, and how to go about finding the answers. And - importantly - how to brutally interrogate the answers until you are sure that they're the real answers.
Just some guy wrote:
And it seems that the law schools are barely teaching that....
http://www.alwd.org/lcr/archives/fall-2 ... an-darvil/
Not trying to be an ass, but I am not going into debt over shoddy learnings, that I can not seem to do any worse then the professionals are doing, am I wrong in thinking that?
Yes. You are still far too convinced that you understand law to have any chance of understanding law. And I doubt that you're able to convince yourself that you don't understand very much law.
isn't a spectacularly important case; it's just one that I have open in another tab right now.
I believe that each era finds a improvement in law each year brings something new for the benefit of mankind.
--Clarence Earl Gideon