Monday, November 7, 2011

Ranking: Best (and Worst) Law Classes at U of L

Registration for my final semester of law school is just a few days away. With that in mind, here is a completely unscientific ranking of classes I have taken at U of L Law over the last two and a half years. Just for fun, I am adopting the tiered approach of another arbitrary legal ranking system.

Tier 1 
1. Torts
2. Civil Procedure
3. Trial Practice
4. Criminal Procedure - Constitutional Issues
5. Professional Responsibility

Tier 2
6. Law Review
Warning: potential tort case!
7. Property
8. Constitutional Law
9. Contracts
10. Decedents' Estates

Tier 3
11. Selected Problems in Civil Procedure
12. Criminal Law (first-year)
13. Evidence
14. Negotiable Instruments
15. Legal Research

Tier 4 (in alphabetical order)
Bar Review
Basic Income Tax
Basic Legal Skills
Business Organizations
Secured Transactions

In creating this list, I was tempted to give high marks to classes taught by terrific professors, or classes where I earned the best grades. I tried to avoid doing so, but in some cases this was unavoidable. Example: first-year Torts and first-year Civil Procedure, taught by David Leibson and Leslie Abramson respectively, were both incredible experiences. Then again, the material in Secured Transactions has been so awful that even Richard Nowka, a fantastic professor, could not rescue it from Tier 4. My preferences for classes are mostly based on how interesting the material is to me, and how much I grew as a person. Many students groan about Professional Responsibility,  but I loved reading about all of the ways in which attorneys can get themselves disbarred. I also think everyone should take Trial Practice. I loved learning how to argue in court, and battle butterflies in a mock setting. If you are thinking about law school, or preparing to sign up for another semester of punishment at your existing school, it's also worth mentioning that many of these classes must be taken whether you like them or not, either as graduation requirements, for bar prep, or both (and yes, Bar Review is not technically a class, but I am predicting it will be a Tier 4 experience). Another thing that struck me in ranking law school classes is that many of the top courses are designed for 1L students. This may be because...

1) excitement about law school peaks in the first year, followed by a steady decline for the next two years, at which point you are happy to be finished and don't want think about any classes ever again.
2) all of the best classes and best professors are loaded into the first year, after which most of your poker chips are in the game and you can't back out.
3) first-year classes were actually just as awful as Tier 4 classes, but after the passage of two years of time they seem better.

My last semester of law school may shuffle the rankings. I'm taking Domestic Relations, Negotiation, Criminal Procedure - Judicial Process, maybe Bankruptcy, and hopefully an externship at the Jefferson County Public Defender's Office, which I predict will be in Tier 2, and possibly Tier 1. How can that be? Hey, I said the list was arbitrary. Just trying to be like the big boys.

1 comment:

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