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

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Scheduling and Law School Classes

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
Go to Comments | 5 Comments

From PT Law Mom, comes a tale of scheduling angst.

Every time I think I have it planned, a new wrinkle pops up. Just found out that I have to take tax (despite my every intention to avoid it completely!) because it is a prerequisite for 22 (yes, 22) classes at school (i.e., Mergers & Acquisitions, Trusts & Estates, Business Organizations), many of which are important for my career.

To assuage her concerns, I offer her NOT the annoying comment everyone who just took BarBri seems to want to offer – “Dude, like totally don’t worry about law school, BarBri’s all you need” – but instead sage advice from a sitting Supreme Court Justice, whose words are often, well, binding –

Justice Samuel A. Alito gave the keynote address to at the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Spring Meeting in D.C. last Monday. He conceded that he never took a course in bankruptcy as a law student but explained that bankruptcy courses were not offered at Yale. (Alito graduated from Yale Law in 1975).

Not to worry though. Justice Alito explained that federal judges are generalists and learn on the job. “We are not experts in all statutes we are called upon to interpret,” he noted. But, “we can learn how to read a statutory provision.” “You can teach yourself what you need to know” he said. Indeed, “formal legal education today is a bit overvalued.”

From MoneyLaw: Legal Education Overvalued?

That’s not to say it matters little what you study. Some law school sadists I know actually liked FedTax, or at least claimed to. For what it’s worth, here’s the tao of Gilman in choosing law school classes. Follow my advice at your own peril, young paduans.

(1) professor
(2) professor
(3) time/day
(4) subject matter

Bookmark this Page:
  • digg
  • Furl
  • Ma.gnolia
  • Reddit
  • YahooMyWeb
  • e-mail
  • Facebook
  • Live
  • Slashdot
  • StumbleUpon

No related posts.

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Category: law school


5 Responses

  1. PT-LawMom says:

    Okay, Gilman, you’ve pretty much convinced me. Who needs to take Estate Planning?!? Besides, there are always CLEs and hornbooks out there for self-study (not to mention the old standby move – fly by the seat of your pants). ;) A classmate had freaked me out but, looking again, there are plenty of similar classes that offer topics I’d like to learn for work that don’t require Tax as a pre-requisite. Also, apparently my school lets us take a few classes offered in other graduate schools so I might be able to take some related MBA-type courses that are appropriate to my field if I can’t find something at my law school. Thanks for the advice and the Alito backup.

  2. lukegilman says:

    Not that we will all have the option to be “generalists” who “learn on the job” (I’ve heard that same folksy sentiment from a couple of Justices now and it’s really starting to annoy me).

    I don’t intend to minimize the importance of being able to take the classes you want to take, but at a certain point I think one starts to realize that most law school classes are more of the same and that acquiring the analytical skills is what’s important.

  3. PT-LawMom says:

    I think that if you have had the chance to work in a law firm, you know that what lawyers do versus what law school teaches is very different. I definitely need to take some bar classes that I don’t want to take but should take to have a background in them when it comes time for the test but I don’t think tax necessarily needs to be one of them.

  4. lukegilman says:

    I’ve completely given up on the law school teaching me to be a lawyer thing. Maybe the Washington & Lee kids will fare better with their new 3L year.

  5. lukegilman says:

    One other factor worth considering in scheduling – sign up for what will fill up the quickest. You can always change your mind and switch later – assuming there are slots open, so sometimes you can go from Class A to B the night before but not vice versa.

Leave a Reply