Friday, December 14, 2007

My family law "exam"

The exam is in quotes because it was more like a series of trick questions. Rather than give an essay exam about how we would advise a client who came in with a certain issue, the exam asked us to pick the best answer out of 4. We had 150 minutes to answer 40 questions. That's not even 4 minutes a question. Each question had a long paragraph of facts and then four two or three sentence answers to choose from. Just reading each question took a couple minutes. That left no time to ponder an answer or think through anything.

What does this teach us?

In practice, if a man comes in for a divorce, I am not just going to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. I will consider carefully his options and maybe look at the statute. Why wouldn't our exam encourage us to do just that?

While I don't intend to practice Family Law, I do intend to practice a kind of law that involves me and a client. I don't intend to practice "dartboard law" and I don't enjoy being tested that way.

I have started totally not caring about grades and wanting to just be a good lawyer. What a novelty, huh?

1 comment:

DrewF said...

I hear ya! Dartboard law is one thing. I have a problem with how law school is tested in general.
Imagine this:
A client walks into your office and tell you an incredibly complex situation about which s/he needs your legal advice. Then your boss comes in and tells you that you have precisely 45 minutes to analyze every cause of action, every defense, and the majority and minority common law holdings on every legal issue raised. Then he tells you that you may not refer to any books, outlines, treatises, or reporters. Just to make it more fair, he stands over you with a stopwatch to make sure that you do not use one minute more than the alotted 45 minutes.
I can't imagine too many client who would want their legal work performed like that. So why are we tested like that?