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Spence: Law School is a Fraud

Famed buckskin-clad Wyoming trial lawyer Gerry Spence may be new to this blogging thing, but he sure isn't shy about it. In his latest post, he declares law school a $100,000 fraud. "We have law schools claiming they are educating lawyers when most lawyers, as they drag themselves out of the misery and boredom of those three empty years, are tragically unprepared to do anything useful."

If Spence had his druthers for someone to assist him in a trial, he would prefer a nurse over a freshly minted lawyer, he writes. Why? Because nurses enter their field because they care about people and they are trained in how to listen.

I could teach an eighth-grader in twenty minutes how to brief a case. Yet for all three years in most law schools the casebook method of learning the law is still in. The matriculating young lawyer is as qualified to represent a client with the education he has suffered through as a doctor who has never seen a patient, who has never held a scalpel in his hand and who learns surgery by having read text books about it and becomes skilled in surgery, if ever, after having stacked up piles of corpses who represent his pathetic learning process.

What lawyers should learn, Spence believes, is how to tell a story. "The trial of a case, in its simplest form, is telling a story jurors can understand." To learn that, lawyers should be grounded in classical literature, history, poetry and the arts.

One need not write poetry or paint pictures to be a successful human being.  But some intimacy with the arts and the language and its use and with right brain functions of feeling and creativity are essential to the development of the whole person.  Little wonder that lawyers, disabled by all of the stifling, mostly useless mental exercises they have suffered, have trouble relating to jurors much less to the rest of mankind.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Spence. We're glad to have you here.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 28, 2008 at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)


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