23 Conn. L. Rev. 627 (1990-1991)
Fear and Loathing in the Law Schools

handle is hein.journals/conlr23 and id is 641 raw text is: FEAR AND LOATHING IN THE LAW
B.A. Glesner*
N     a world in which legal work is becoming increasingly diversified
and specialized, lawyers have one common bond: law school. Despite
curricular experimentation, the law school experience is stubbornly uni-
form for students at law schools across the country.' Regardless of
their year of study or the diversity of their class schedules or teachers'
styles, law students will still face a process that has a similar effect
upon them. Law school is stressful.
Students, perceiving the educational process to be the cause of this
stress, often act instinctively to protect themselves through fight or
flight reactions.2 Students fight education and educators in ways rang-
ing from hostility and ridicule to passive aggression, and they see them-
selves as beating the system or refusing to play the game. Students
flee as well, dropping out entirely or continuing their enrollment while
playing dead in school.3
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. LLM.,
Yale University, 1986; J.D., University of Wisconsin, 1983; B.Ph., Thomas Jefferson College,
1980. Thanks to Margaret Sells, Elizabeth Lawrence, UMKC Law School Class of 1991, and
K.C. Tusher, UMKC Class of 1992, who provided research, editorial assistance, and expert testi-
mony. Thanks as well to my colleagues Professors Mahoney, Levit, Hayman, and Cheslik for
reading drafts and sharing ideas.
I. See generally Auerbach, Legal Education and Some of Its Discontents, 34 J LEGAL ED. 43
(1984); Feinman & Feldman, Pedagogy and Politics, 73 GEO. LJ, 875, 925-30 (1985) (describing
the reaction to their first-year curricular innovation and suggesting a subtle but intense political
basis for this stubborn uniformity).
2. Recently, the traditional formulation of the flight-or-fight response to stress has been re-
evaluated to include both active and passive forms of these responses. WYe tend to notice the ac-
tive, fight responses to stress most often; however, the passive and flight responses are just as
strong a reaction to stress. S. HoBFOLL., THE ECOLOGY OF STRESS 14 (1988).
3. See. e.g., Blodgett, Stress: We Did Not Invent It. But We May Get Credit for Perfecting It,
52 TEX. BJ. 1177, 1178 (1989) ([T]he quiet, withdrawn, introverted, hopeless/hclpless personal-
ity may be evidencing the 'possum syndrome: and [is) in as much danger from debilitating effects

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