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1 Law Tchr. 1 (1993-1994)

handle is hein.journals/lawteaer1 and id is 1 raw text is: t
A'

,                                 TI-E LAW
GONZAGA
UNIVERSITY
Institute for Law School Teaching                                                                 Fall 1993
Boring
By Robert E. Rains
et us speak the truth. Law school is too often, er, you  our students' perspective, anything that occurred before
know, kind of, well, boring. Was it any different  roughly last week has the reality and significance of, say, the
when you were in law school?                      War of Jenkins' Ear. And because they have been raised in
Oh yes, and also irrelevant. This, of course, is not exactly  the ahistorical era of the sound-bite, students cannot readily
surprising inasmuch as we - law profs, that is - are, by  understand the framework of law - much less justice
and large, refugees from the practice of law specifically, and  from traditional law school fare.
the real world in general. The major distinction among us is  I have no answers, only a few suggestions. We must
simply the remoteness in time of our flight to the asylum.  intersperse traditional legal education methods with media
Every now and then I break bread with former students  that are user-friendly for students. But the TV show, film,
enthralled by the practice of law. I always ask two     etc., must always be a supplement to, not a substitute for,
questions. How was law school? Their eyes glaze over as  traditional law school programming.
they struggle to find an honest answer that won't be too Every year, my most successful class transpires when I
insulting. Did you learn anything that has actually been  show the PBS video, Eyes on the Prize, America's Civil
useful in your work as a lawyer?                                                  Rights Years, Episode 2.
They ponder that one a while. I                                                   Fighting Back (1957-62), to
can almost see the mental search  Because they have been raised in the            my Education Law Seminar
of those long-closed files. Then  ahistorical era of the sound-bite, students      students. They are assigned to
the light dawns. Gosh, no, they  cannot readily understand the framework          read Brown v. Board of
invariably conclude.                 lw      m   c   lesj    tieEducation and its 1 960s
Now before you turn the page   of      -te -from                                progeny prior to class. But
(or worse) in anger, let me           traditional law school fare.                they just don't get it. Then
reassure you of that which you                                                    they see the National Guard
are already thinking. These                                                       with bayonets drawn at Little
hackneyed condemnations don'ttapply to you (orme) personally, Rock's Central High and lawyer Thurgood Marshall and Old
only to our colleagues collectively and to our grandiose, if ill-  Miss ablaze and public schools chained shut by government
defined, mutual endeavor,                               decree. The reaction tends toward actual disbelief. It cannot
In the words of a now out-of-favor revolutionary, what is  be true; it can't have happened. Then I bring out my secret
to be done? The problem is to bring reality into a largely  weapon: a black colleague who grew up in Alabama in that
unreal exercise. This is, of course, not exactly an original  era, who calmly relates the conditions under which she
brainstorm. The trick is how to do it. Langdell tried to  fought for what every one of my students has always taken
concoct a science out of cases. (Methinks the result was  for granted, the right to attend high school. Her one-hour
closer to alchemy.) Others have come up with moot courts  visit to my class, by the way, would dispel anyone's doubts
and moot court teams, live clinics and that perfect     about the critical need for multiculturalism in legal education.
oxymoron: simulation clinics.                                                              Continued on page 2
All of these methods may  to borrow from medical
terminology - provide valid aid to students if administered
in homeopathic doses. Overdone, they will invariably       tIside
induce iatrogenic disorders in the patients.
Now, despite what you may think when you read final     Doctors in the classroom        .............3
exams, law students are pretty darn smart. By the second   An inventory for teaching analysis     ......5
week of school they know us for what we are. Dare I say it?  Graded assignments............................ 7
Fossils! But, as any paleontologist will tell you, there is still  Institute grants..................10
much to be learned from fossils. The analogy is apt. From

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