Law School Orientation Week

Law School Orientation Week

This post marks a shift in the focus of the blog (if you can say there’s been any focus..) to how law school and parenting collide. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but the past few days have proven that it’s going to be a challenging undertaking for the next three years. That’s also not to say I won’t be throwing in some other random posts as I have time, like the one about all the freezer meals I made that I haven’t made it around to yet.. Anyway!

Last week kicked off orientation for law school (edit: which was Thursday and Friday, not all week as may be implied). It was a great event, but definitely unlike any other orientation event I’ve experienced before. Sure, there were the usual tour, administrative briefings, student/faculty and “about town” panels.

But in addition to the usual drivel, we actually had homework assignments due before the first day of orientation! In that fashion, the school didn’t waste any time in setting our expectations for the coming year. And it wasn’t for busy work either, all the homework fed into the 3 classes we had during orientation. Yes, classes during orientation!

Truth be told, I’m grateful for the classes that were put on. If anything, I wish we’d received them a little earlier and they provided a lot of insight and coaching for preparing for our first classes. It was also pretty cool that the professors started introducing the socratic method to the class during those classes. Since it was unexpected and in a very non-threatening environment, I think it probably helped ease some students fears about the socratic method.

The socratic method is apparently one of the most feared aspects of law school. It’s basically the opposite of the lecture style class most people are familiar with. Students read cases before class, which are often convoluted and difficult to understand, then the professor “facilitates” learning by cold-calling on students and interrogating them about the reading.

It’s honestly not that bad, especially if you’ve already moved past the fear of public speaking. I’ve been fortunate to have participated in previous classes that used the socratic method, and the Army helped me become very comfortable with public speaking, so the cold-calling doesn’t bother me. I’m confident that in class I won’t make myself to be any bigger a fool that I already have elsewhere.

The most challenging bit about orientation for me was trying to get through all the homework before Monday. Part of the orientation handout was the first class assignments, since the cold-calling interrogations are supposed to start the first day. With Callee’s work schedule and the Sunday exchanges with Bruce’s mom, the weekend was ate up pretty quick. Took a lot of midnight oil but I was able to get it knocked out with a lot of support from Callee. Hopefully this week I can get it down to where homework in the evenings is a seldom occasion.

Overall, the orientation gave me a really good feeling about law school. The faculty all seem great, the facility has been ranked top in the country and the subjects are intriguing (so far). I’ve even managed to find a few brethren among my peers, some other veterans and a few fathers. Here’s looking to a good semester!

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