Friday, August 13, 2010

1L Law School Tales - The Socratic Method, Part 1

A little story for those entering law school this month . . .

Socratic Professor - 1, Associate Girl - 0

My 1L criminal law professor had a system where he would call on three people to stand and answer questions for the entire class. Typically he would spend equal time with each person standing, but sometimes he just focused on one person and only briefly got to the other two. Once you had your turn, you were done for the semester.

Of course, you wanted to be called on early in the semester so you could just relax and learn the rest of the time. It was about 3/4ths through the semester and I still hadn't been called on so I was still meticulously briefing my cases every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This included looking up words because the professor liked to ask for definitions of words in the cases.

This one particular day I really wanted to be called on because all of the cases were criminal medical cases. Prior to law school, I had worked in a hospital and I was as adept at reading medical records as the medical residents. If I got called on, I could easy navigate the cases and cement my place in law school history as one of the people who knew what she was doing.

It appeared as if the Law School Gods were smiling upon me because I did get called as one of the three people to discuss the medical cases that day. Check and mate. The professor spent a good deal of time with the first student and I could answer all of the questions that he was throwing at him (although I wasn't allowed to). The other kid was stumbling all over himself and I kept sending glances to the professor that said "Call on me; I know this stuff."

Eventually, he got to me. His first question was
"Ms. Associate Girl, what is the fascia?"

[Ha. I so know this.]

"It's a thick fibrous white tissue inside of the body that keeps all the organs in place."
"No. It's not."

And he moved on. That's it. I got one question. And by the way - IT SO IS.

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