We've all come across that person who goes straight from college to law school because they think four years in College Toastmasters and winning the best debater award on the high school debate team is sufficient experience to do well in law school. As you all know, good grades and success in law school has very little to do with oratory skills. Other than optional extra-curricular activities such as moot court and clinical programs, law school has nearly nothing to do with debating and public speaking ability.
A former high school debater asked Law.com whether he should start law school immediately after college:
And here is a portion of the B.S. response from Law.com:
Q: I'm a college senior and wonder what you think about my going to law school right away, after I graduate next year. I've been interested in becoming a lawyer since high school, when I was in the debate club. My friends who are planning to get their MBA are going to work for a couple of years first. Is that something I should do, or should I stick to my plan of starting next fall, assuming I'm accepted?
Also, any thoughts of where I should apply?
Being shy certainly won't help you in the classroom when the professor uses the Socratic Method, but that doesn't mean you can't get the best grade in the class. A friend from law school was a poor public speaker and still graduated law review and cum laude while many of the slick, Billy Flynn wannabes had mediocre and poor grades.
A: Dear Sooner or Later,
Some individuals find it beneficial to obtain work experience for a year or two, or more, before they attend law school. Others continue their education without a break. Their choice of whether to jump right in or wait, like yours, may be influenced by many different issues.
Ask yourself, first, whether you are ready for law school. Take into account not only your state of mind or eagerness to start on your career, but also your skills. Think about your abilities in all areas including research, writing, oral communication, analysis, judgment, leadership, negotiation, project management and organization. Assess whether they are at the level expected of law students. Consider, too, potential benefits of work experience that enables you to refine those skills.
Working may have other advantages. If you work and can save a portion of your earnings, you can defray some of the cost of law school or, at least, cut back on the amount of financial assistance that you may need. You may also start repaying any loans that you may have received for your undergraduate education. Leaving law school with less debt would be a plus.
Here is a word of advice. Don't worry about the loud mouths in class who try to intimidate everyone. It is usually the people who don't say anything and quietly go back to their rooms to study instead of running their mouths on campus who graduate at the top of their class. Law school does not prepare you to become a lawyer or argue in court. The only thing law school tests you on is your test taking ability on one exam at the end of the semester, not how well you can speak to an audience. Most lawyers will never argue in court, so the only reason I can come up with as to why law lemmings continue to believe that success in law school is strongly correlated to the debate team is due to the glamorization of the legal profession by shows like The Good Wife, Law & Order, and The Defenders.
Where to apply should be a no-brainer to anyone who reads BIDER. Simple answers to simple questions: Yale or Fail or full scholarship to a T14.