Thursday, November 01, 2007

choosing classes

november has rolled around. that means it's almost time to pick classes for next semester.

these musings pertain a little less to the 1Ls now than it does to the 2Ls and 3Ls, but it's good for you 1Ls to have this in your mind when spring comes and you get to sign up for your 2L classes. my advice boils down to one simple principle:

don't take bar classes for the sake of taking bar classes.

there's a reason that almost everyone takes a bar prep course: specifically, to become familiar with the topics and questions on the bar in a way that will prepare you to pass the bar. even if a law school class covers a topic that is on your state bar, the professor probably does not teach it in a way that is useful for the test, and the class is not going to focus on the specific law in your jurisdiction, the law that you're going to have to know for your state bar. in fact, a recent study has shown that there's no statistically significant correlation for most students between how many "bar classes" they take and if they pass.1 leave your bar exam worries until after graduation, while you are actually taking your bar course--the only thing you'll ever take that's targeted at passing that test.

there's an even more important reason not to take bar classes for the sake of bar classes--your sanity. remember: if you sign up for a class, you are stuck with it for an entire semester. do you want to be stuck taking corporations for an entire semester if you don't plan on taking corporate law, just for the sake of a test a year and a half in the future, for which you're going to have to learn the topic all over again right before the test? probably not. you'll be much happier taking classes because the subject matter looks interesting, or because they are being taught by professors you enjoy working with.

law school is frustrating enough sometimes, whether you are taking classes you like or classes you don't like. any class you take will demand a significant amount of your time. make all that time you spend doing schoolwork as pleasant as possible: let your interests and passions guide your course selection instead of letting a cut-and-dried list of bar topics guide it.

1 according to the study, there was a weak but statistically significant correlation between taking bar classes and passing the bar for students in the third quartile of their classes. there was not a statistically significant correlation for students in the first, second, or fourth quartiles of their classes.


The Namby Pamby said...

I agree so very much.

BarBri will teach you everything you need to know. And then some.

Useless Dicta said...

I feel so much better about not considering Secured Transactions as an option next semester after reading this post! My law school has a lower bar pass rate than the law school 30 minutes up the road in my state and it seems like everyone is always paranoid about taking the bar classes, it's nice to be reminded about that little course called BarBri :) Thanks!

nicolle said...

you're welcome! :D

oh gosh, secured trans. i didn't take that class...never intended to. my only exposure to the topic was through one project i did at my job last summer. it was a pretty short project--but enough to make me grateful that i had no plans to take the class. the UCC is just unpleasant.

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