: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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It tolled for me. I think that’s one of the first times I’ve heard “Mr. Gilman” and realized someone was talking to me – just one of those hey, guess what you’re really an adult moments, like buying socks. The Ragazzo treatment wasn’t so bad. I had read the case. I knew the facts. He let me slide on a point or two. I only got one amazing.

Here’s my feeling on the whole socratic method thing. When done well, and I think Ragazzo does it very well, it’s bar-none the best kind of educational experience, particularly for the law. You’re forced to think on your feet, to go in unexpected directions, to match wits with someone who knows a lot more than you, to stretch, in other words, and to find your bearings in unfamiliar territory. Most importantly, you have to know your material in a way that you typically don’t in most educational settings. In most undergraduate courses, particularly liberal arts, being familiar with the material is sufficient, if you say something halfway intelligent about it you know it. In law, knowing takes on whole other dimensions. You have to be able to take it apart and put it back together again, mess with it, break it down to the essentials, see how it works in different situations, with different fact bases. You have to own it. Bullshitting is typically not an option. The nice thing about socratic method is that it informs you of exactly how much you don’t know, before the exam.

When it comes down to grades, however, the whole socratic class thing is an ego trip. By that I mean my ego trip, not Ragazzo’s. I’m splitting time between class prep and exam prep and having gotten called on out of the way I can give more attention to exam prep and there’s a heck of a lot to do there. Before tonight, I didn’t want to be embarrassed, so I boned up on the material, which isn’t a bad thing, but the time for synthesizing, identifying standards, seeing the ebb and flow of cases, just hasn’t been there.

Anyway, enough midnight blawging. T-minus 11 days and counting.

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Category: civil procedure, law school, university of houston


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