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Missed Opportunities

peoplesLawSchool.jpgCourtesy of 43(B)log I learned about this new documentary called The Trials of Law School. It purports to be, as the title suggests, a documentary about the law school experience. I’ve watched the trailer for this flick, which you can catch at the end of this post, and I gotta say — this looks like a big pile of missed opportunities.

To be fair, I’m basing my opinion on a two minute trailer — but from that trailer, it seems like this documentary just flat-out misses the mark. It seems to play up law school as an important institution to be cherished and respected (see the clip of a professor proudly claiming that he thinks students see his bullshit six-hour exam as “a right of passage” when, I guarantee you, 98% of his students probably use vulgarities about him that would even make me blush). And that’s not to say that I don’t think law school is important — it’s an important and fundamental part of our legal process. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a vastly flawed institution desperately in need of change and improvement. Yet the trailer suggests that the flick doesn’t focus on that at all.

Instead, the film seems to focus on the experience of going to law school. And I would consider forgiving it for the biased and one-sided portrayal of the institution, if its real purpose was to expose what it’s like to be in law school. But the trailer claims that this is “the first documentary about the U.S. law school system,” which sorta suggests that it’s going to be a more even-handed look into the institution of law school. And my complaint here goes doubly so for the students being portrayed in the film. The trailer shows every one of them basically working their tails off non-stop and I just don’t think that’s the experience for many law students. For some, yes. But not all.

Over at 43(B)log, Rebecca Tushnet takes issue with the statement, made in the trailer, that law school takes twice as much time as anything in undergrad. She calls BS and I second that. Yes, I worked quite a bit for much of first year, and during selected windows of time in my second and third year. But I also partied (hard) and had fun, as did all my friends and, I’d wager, the majority of folks at my law school. And this was a top-20 law school, not a podunk fourth-tier (where I think folks actually may work harder, sometimes, because it’s even more important to get to the top of your class when you’re at a lower-ranked school).

I really think there is a ton of great material to be mined from the law school experience, the type of stuff that would make for a fascinating and entertaining documentary. But my cursory judgment of this flick based on nothing more than ~2% of its footage is that it’s not such a flick. Plus, it just looks dull and frankly, law school was anything but dull (the classes might’ve been dull, but the law school experience is barely about the actual classes, if you’re doing it right!).

| Comments (1)


"because it’s even more important to get to the top of your class when your..."

Please change your to you're before my brain explodes. That is my pet peeve. Thanks!!

Yeah, it's a peeve of mine too, but that doesn't mean I still don't sometimes fall susceptible to sloppy editing. Anyway, it be fixed. --SF