The Top 10 Law School Stories of 2014

Crowd

5) Crowdfunding Law School: They call it “sticker shock.” It’s a reaction prospective law students have when they discover the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses. Some faint. Others curse. And a few just sit frozen in disbelief. “How could I ever pay that back?” they ask once they return to their senses. “There’s no way I could ever afford that.”

Here’s an idea: Crowdfund your education. Seriously? Well, the tactic is still in its infancy – and needs plenty of refinement. But two prospective students have, combined, raised $4,000 from their efforts. Find out what they’ve learned and what others are doing now to pare back student loans here.

Love

6) How to Stop Worrying and Start Learning to Love Law School: So what’s law school really like?  Is it a 24-hour pressure cooker? Do students constantly feel like they’re somewhere between fending off a cold and recovering from a hangover? Do they always feel isolated and overwhelmed?

If “Just do it” is the mantra for athletes, then ‘Just pass the bar’ is the axiom that drives third-years. That’s one lesson that staff writer Maya Itah learned from shadowing “Charlie,” a grizzled 3L at the University of California-Hastings’ San Francisco campus. Looking for a candid, no-holds-barred look into the law school experience? Get a load of Charlie’s thoughts as he nears graduation.

Dash

Dash Kwiatkowski

7) The Case for Dropping Out of Law School: “I guess I’ll do this and be a bad lawyer — I don’t care.” Thankfully, Allison Mick, a Northwestern Law grad, never acted on those sentiments. Feeling uninspired and disillusioned, Mick chose a different path: standup comedy. So did Dash Kwiatkowski, a U.C.-Berkeley grad who entered law school at 19 and immediately faced absurdist lectures and the wrath of “mean girl” cliques.

So what advice do they give to students struggling with academics and school culture? And what have they done with their degrees that enable them to pursue their comedic passions? Find out in this helpful (and hilarious) piece.

 

Cartoon

 

8) Theory vs. Practice: How Schools Should Teach Law: It’s one of the oldest questions: is law a trade or a discipline? And the answer carries major consequences regarding what’s taught – and how. If you subscribe to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s worldview, law school is too customized, often at the expense of legal basics. Ask students and they’ll decry many schools’ lack of hands-on experience.

Practical vs. theoretical? Electives vs. core courses? Application vs. principles? In this piece, we pose this dichotomy to two legal minds with very different experiences: Marc Luber, a Chicago-Kent grad who runs a firm that helps law grads find jobs, and Derek Muller, a Pepperdine Law professor who spent several years at a big law firm. Do these men see any middle ground? And do they feel a two-year curriculum would alleviate or exacerbate many of law education’s ills? Check out their surprising answers here.