Sunday, March 7, 2010

U. of Texas accused of failing to provide 1L's with adequate training in brief writing

According to The Blackbook Legal Blog, UT's first year curriculum doesn't include a mandatory brief writing class (although according to our sources students do receive a mandatory single semester in objective memo writing).  Instead, it's a first year elective which only about half the students are able to register for.  So rather than making the course mandatory or increasing the number of sections offered, UT allegedly steers students away from it "by offering grossly grade-inflated first-year electives on such totally impractical topics as Race and Gender in the Constitution."

The Blackbook Legal Blog is critical of UT's curriculum because of the way it disadvantages students who must compete for jobs in a ferocious job market where practice skills have paramount importance.

Quoting The Daily Texan, the BLB writes:

[C]riticisms [of the University of Texas Law School] are well-founded. In a survey of accredited law schools, Texas was the only school without a mandatory brief-writing course. In fact, only about half of first-year students surveyed reported being able to get into a brief-writing course. As a result, they will not be trained how to present arguments to a court — one of the most basic legal skills.

Instead of rectifying the problem by meeting national practical skills standards, UT Law instead chooses to steer law students away from taking practical courses by offering grossly grade-inflated first-year electives on such totally impractical topics as Race and Gender in the Constitution.

The first-year curve in all courses is set at 3.3; the average in these “electives” is a 3.8. A student in Race and Gender in the Constitution commented, “The class is a complete joke and a waste of time, but the professor gives almost everyone A’s.” Since law students’ employment is determined by their first-year GPA, creating such an exception to the curve is unfair to other students and misleading to employers relying on the veracity of student transcripts. . . .
We can't vouch for these reports but we're publishing them here because we thought our regular readers would be interested.
 
Hat tip to Above the Law
 
I am the scholarship dude.
 
(jbl)
 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2010/03/u-of-texas-accused-of-failing-to-provide-1ls-with-adequate-training-in-brief-writing.html

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Comments

The Daily Texan is the UT student newspaper. Link to the story here: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/opinion/law-students-need-a-practical-education-1.2179626

Posted by: JBS | Mar 7, 2010 6:34:13 PM

Thanks for the link to our story; just to clarify, there are two links to the Daily Texan in the original post Nima published yesterday. This is the link to the article: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/opinion/law-students-need-a-practical-education-1.2180980

The link appears twice in this sentence, which appears in the original post on our Blog: "It appears that law students elsewhere are yearning for the same at their institutions. From The Daily Texan"

Posted by: Craig Reiser | Mar 7, 2010 9:02:08 PM

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