Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Socratic Method

In law school lore, the Socratic method is supposed to be this humuliating and chilling experience where you are made to look like a boob constantly.

Of course, lore is crap. At least regarding my classes. It's true, many people did have hard experiences, and it's also true that many of them went to Harvard, but these days things are a bit more affirming.

In my classes, my professors started into their questioning (they ask us about cases we were supposed to read) by saying something like this.

"Okay, everyone. Now we are going to do the Socratic part. We are all in this together, and it's okay if you mess up. You'll get the hang of it. Okay...Mr. Davis?"


"Tell me, in Temple v Synthes, was the key issue Subject Matter Jurisdiction or Party Joinders?"

"Um, jurisdiction."

"Hmmm, well, maybe, do you think it might have been joinders?"
Yeah, joinders."
"Right! Wonderful. You're getting this!"

That's not exactly what happened (and it wasn't me), but there have actually been moments that follow that tone almost to a t.

So, not exactly brutal (and Socrates wasn't that brutal anyway, and, for that matter, noone really knows what he talked like, they only know how Plato presented him and made hiim sound smarter than everyone else (although he might have been)). But I digress...

So, yeah, the professors are nice. At least mine are. It's no "Paper Chase." Maybe more like legally blonde (I don't actually remember the movie, though, so I can't say for sure).

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