This week marks the final week of classes for the Fall semester at Vanderbilt Law. While students are currently toiling away outlining and preparing for exams, the end of the semester often makes me think of the new slate of classes ahead. Whether it was in college, graduate school, or law school, I always thoroughly enjoyed clicking through a course catalog and seeing the range of subjects that I could tackle. “You mean there’s one course on Russian history up to 1801 and then a whole separate course on Russian history since 1801?” While law school may not provide students the opportunity to jump between courses in economics, gender studies, and astronomy the same way one can in college, there are still scores of interesting classes, each of which provides an insight into a particular aspect of the law.
As I have mentioned before in this space, when working with students over the course of three years, I am often asked questions that go beyond basic matters of résumé format or cover letter content. One of the more frequent inquiries after the completion of 1L is “what classes should I take?”
There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to this question, with some overlap. The first is that students should take as many “core” classes as can fit into their schedules. These are the classes a non-lawyer would think of when conjuring up an image of the law school curriculum, e.g., Corporations, Tax, Evidence, Wills & Trusts, etc. Perhaps more importantly, these are also the subjects likely to be on the bar examination. The other line of thinking is that students should take what interests them. At the end of the day, it is their money — or really, all of our tax dollars doled out to students via a student loan system that is overwhelmingly federal . . . at least for now — so why sit through classes focusing on areas of the law which hold little interest to you, especially in a world where bar preparation courses exist?
On which side of this divide do I […]