Are Law School Kids Not Keen on Stories?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Are law school kids not keen on stories anymore?

Not even when the stories are about law?

It turns out that we missed a great opportunity to combine work and pleasure this semester by ignoring a class that would give us this benefit – Constitutional Law Stories. I was looking for courses to take last year, and I ran upon this newly offered course. “Wow!” – I thought. – “How awesome it would be to fit this course into my schedule!” I mean – how often do they offer you stories as a class in law school? With our semester load, you’ve got to take one class that would be a pleasure. Besides, these are not just stories but stories about constitutional law - the subject we’ll be tested on at the bar exam. With that in mind, I bent my schedule and registered for the class. However, soon after the registration, I was very disappointed to learn that the class was cancelled because less than eight students signed up. The same thing happened again this year. Come on, guys, what’s the matter?

Think about it: how often do they offer you a storytelling course and also give a credit for that? This course allows you to learn in depth the big cases of the Con. Law that you merely skimmed through during the general course because there was so much to read, and bring these cases into the modern setting. This is the course that would teach us how law interacts with politics and what interests or problems lay behind those renowned cases. It would provide a closer look at the United States Supreme Court and, ultimately, at how the law works in this country, which is what every lawyer wants to know. Yet this is not going to happen because, while looking for the fish that seem big but then turn out to be buried in the past as we get out of school and go on with our lives, we lost one golden fish that could make our wishes come true.

Someone would say - how could it make wishes come true? The answer is that only by digging into the law in depth can we become good lawyers; only by fishing deep can you catch great fish. Constitutional law is the best place to dig, because it is the law of the laws, the cornerstone of our system, the foundation upon which our society rests. In constitutional law, we learn, together with the law itself, about history and about policy, which brought this law into existence. We begin to understand where we came from and what values we stand for and why. This not only enriches us as individuals and as members of society, but also highly benefits us as advocates, making our legal arguments convincing through historic analogies; making our audience breathe the spirit of James Otis and John Raleigh, taking our legal cause beyond the gray paperwork routine and into the realm of living justice.

The stories will come from a judge with a tremendous experience on the bench, a brilliant speaker, a guru in Massachusetts evidence and criminal procedure and what not. With him, you will never be bored or frustrated, and you’ll learn a ton. He is very nice to students. If I could, I would take every class this professor teaches. I regret very much that we overlooked such a cool class. Law school brevit est – let’s make it enjoyable. Let’s take the Con. Law Stories with Judge Agnes next year if it is still on the list!

Nadia Voronova (Klystov)


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