Law Students need to be Active

Eugene Volokh has some advice to law students (that I probably never would have thought about) after relating the troubling experience of a successful but passive law student:

So, first, make efforts to talk in class. Don’t talk just for the sake of talking, but surely you’ll have some interesting questions — ask them. You’ll also have some interesting answers that others in the class aren’t coming up with — give them. Don’t be afraid of sounding stupid to your classmates. Very few of the questions and comments that I’ve heard in class are at all stupid or embarrassing (yes, a few are, but really very few); and if you aren’t a frequent talker, your classmates will be glad to hear a new voice, instead of listening to the usual suspects.

I was always under the impression that most people in law school are going to be those types who think they’re awesome and want everybody to know it by talking a lot. I guess I’m wrong. I have tendency to be passive if the material is uninteresting, but if it’s something that gets my blood flowing I have no problems butting heads with people, even with professors.

[Ed. note: What a messy original post . . .]

3 thoughts on “Law Students need to be Active”

  1. From my brief experience the people who ALWAYS talk often don’t know what they are talking about. We had one who read the full cases of every SINGLE case…and we quickly dismissed almost anything he said. He tried to be too clever and often missed the point of the case.

    I asked a lot of questions, and on many occasions had people come up to me during the break who said they were wondering the same thing but were pretty sure they were wrong, especially since everyone else was going along with it. The professor had misstated the Model Penal Code, which drastically changed the interpretation of the case, and we were getting off track.

    People actually seem to admire you if you put yourself in a sticky situation AS LONG AS you have obviously put the work in, and are grappling for a better command of the material.

    I put myself in a couple of situations where at the end of the discussion all I could do was say, “I don’t know. I’m struggling with this concept.” I was never happy at the time, but today I got introduced by one of my classmates as “the smartest kid in class.” :mrgreen: So I guess my percieved embarassment wasn’t so bad after all.

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