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Duck, duck, duck… GOOSE 2006 August 26

Posted by schooled in Classes, Professors.

So I’ve survived my first week of law school… there are several things I could talk about, but one topic I know many 0Ls worry about is how we’re called on in class (at least, that was one thing I was curious about). It varies from school to school, of course, as well as from professor to professor, but here’s a breakdown of my own experiences. Maybe it’ll make you feel a little more prepared, maybe it won’t.

In one class, the professor makes you stand up for the entire class and answer question after question. If you get it wrong (after several excruciating tries), he’ll take a volunteer, then hone back in on you. If you’re prepared, it’s awesome–you look like a bad ass and you get instant respect. If not, you get reamed. Both have happened, but not to me.

In another, the prof chooses two people and bounces between them the entire class. He’ll ask Person #1 a question. If #1 gets it right, the prof goes to #2. If #2 gets it right, he’ll go back to #1. And so on. If you get it wrong, he’ll get the correct answer from the other person or a volunteer, then ask you the next one… so you can redeem yourself, I guess. This particular prof also has a “point person” he’ll call on almost every class for the entire semester. That, of course, appears to be me. Hooray.

Another prof will call on a different person for each case. Depending on how many cases you cover that day, it can be anywhere from one to seven people.

Most of the profs won’t call on you again until they’ve gone through everyone once. Unless you’re the point person. Hahahahahah…. 😦

None of my profs uses a purely Socratic method–we generally know when we get it right or wrong. Although sometimes it takes a while to get there, we usually get an answer in the end.

Anybody else care to share?


1. steph - 2006 August 26

i am lucky that i do not have the professor who makes you stand up or the one who calls on you for everything for one case. ugh. i think i’m just lucky in general. we figured out my contracts professor looks up who is from the state the case is from and calls on them, my property doesnt really care and lets us just raise our hands, and our torts is awesome and we have discussions that everyone wants to participate in. it is nice.

2. queencru - 2006 August 27

I have profs who do call primarily on one person throughout a case, but with no standing. Others will call on or take volunteers for different aspects of the case. One of these gave us the option of taking a mid-term of sorts, which I think is pretty cool. We’ll hear the final verdict tomorrow, but almost everyone was interested so I don’t see why it shouldn’t happen.

One assigned a person to defend and another person to prosecute and then the next class each presented his/her side. I think it was intended to last 15 minutes but took the whole class because everyone got involved.

3. divine angst - 2006 August 27

Weekly Law School Roundup #33

Welcome to my sort of Back To School edition of the Weekly Law School Roundup! I say sort of, because I personally haven’t started school again, and some of the posts featured below are from folks who won’t be starting…

4. nearlyclever - 2006 August 28

Wow, that’s pretty hardcore. We haven’t started at UMinn yet, but I did have a week at Tulane last year and it was much more laid back. Dean Ponoroff took volunteers and if he called on you it was for a question or two, then maybe a couple more about the same case at most. The “worst” was this really old guy for Civ Pro who might have worked his way through an entire case on one student, but even he didn’t make you stand up and if you didn’t know he’d bounce around to someone else.

5. thebrittany - 2006 September 6

Two of my professors call on a different person for almost every question. One briefs the case, one gives the issue, one gives the holding etc. I’ve only been called on twice in this class, but I’m sure there are people who have been called on 4 or more times (in 3 weeks). The other Prof will call on someone at the beginning of a case and that becomes his or her case. They can answer all the questions if they want, but if they don’t know, the professor takes volunteers.

Not too stressful! (American’s WCL)

6. divine angst » Blog Archive » Weekly Law School Roundup #33 - 2007 March 14

[…] the Socratic method isn’t the same in every class (Schooled) […]

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