Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The most important thing I have learned in studying behavioral biology is that individuals and society prosper by using reciprocal altruism (cooperation or tit-for-tat). Those individuals and groups that cooperated on the savannah obtained more resources, improving their survival chances.
Cooperation is often missing in legal education today. The law school atmosphere is much more tense than it was when I started teaching in 1995. Students are antagonistic to professors because of grades; professors are impatient with students because they have seen the mistakes so many times before and because they think the students are not listening.
More cooperation between professors and students could help with some of the problems in legal education. Despite what certain blogs might say, most professors want to help the students learn and most students do want to learn. Professors need to more patient with students, friendlier, and more giving with their time. Students need to understand that professors want to help them, grades are part of law school, and when they have problems, they should go see their professors, instead of getting angry.