Choosing Next Year’s Classes, or, Underwater Basket Weaving for the Litigation SetPosted: April 26, 2010
I find myself sailing into the third year of the law school odyssey, caught between the Scylla of practical classes and the Charybdis of the clerkship application process. I want to take classes that will give me some useful skills after I graduate, but at the same time those classes are often offered only on a pass/fail basis. (Yes, I know they’re technically called credit/no credit, but I don’t do that touchy-feely crap like my colleague Alex does. If you’re going to fail, you FAIL. You don’t simply not get credit.) Clerkship applications look better when you actually take classes for letter grades, and I took a heap of pass/fail credits in my 2L year (including the externship that kept me from starving to death last summer).
What’s worse, I feel like I’ve taken most of the classes I want to take, and the remaining classes I would take are either offered at the arse-crack of dawn (and I’m moving to the suburbs next year, so that would just be a recipe for disaster) or conflict with other classes I really need to take. And the classes that meet outside of the need-to-take classes are all underwater-basket-weaving type classes (this includes most seminars and most classes with the word “justice” in the title). Finally, I have this problem where if I have just one class on any given day, it becomes so easy to just blow off that one class, since it makes little sense to go all the way to campus for one hour and then go all the way home.
So what are the must-take classes? Since I’ll be a 3L, there are no must-take classes as such (except for professional responsibility, which I’ve already taken), but Conflicts of Laws and Federal Courts are the two classes that I’ve been told a litigator civil litigation lawyer (like me) has no business going into the world without taking. Civil Procedure II (which covers things like class actions, joinder, and preclusion doctrines) is another must-take course, but I took that in my 2L year, so it’s all good.
I’m also taking Trial Advocacy II, which is a rare bird, a skills-oriented letter-graded class. I’m also taking some tax classes, although I haven’t scraped together the $65 that it will take to actually get into the concurrent LL.M. program, so who knows if the administrative folks will actually let me in. I’m doing a bankruptcy clinic next year, too, which should be fun. And I’ve rounded out my schedule with a little o’ this, little o’ that (payment systems, medical malpractice, real estate transactions).
Alex is wanting me to take another class with our 1L torts professor (who also taught Civil Procedure II). I’m skeptical, though — I wasn’t happy with my grade in torts (not that I didn’t deserve it, just that I could have done better) and think I stuffed the exam in Civ Pro II (I’ve not yet had the intestinal fortitude to look at my autumn grades, which makes clerkship applications interesting), so I hesitate.