Friday, April 9, 2010

Law Schools In Vietnam Fail to Provide Practical Skills Too

From Viet Nam News:

Law graduates lack formal practice skills

Universities are failing to provide on-the-job training for law students, leaving graduates ill-equipped to meet the demands of a legal practice, according to HCM City law professor Pham Duy Nghia.

In a report, Nghia said law faculties in Viet Nam put the emphasis on theory at the expense of developing practical skills, such as legal analysis, legal drafting and client advisory skills.

...The content was heavily theoretical and too concise without clear elaboration, which hindered the promotion of critical thinking, a skill of crucial importance to a lawyer, she said.

I laughed when I read this because it's not like the law schools in America are any better at providing students with on the job training and practical skills needed in the real world. Three years, two hundred thousand dollars later and you still don't know a damn thing other than what you picked up from your summer internships. Law school doesn't even prepare you for the bar exam so you gotta pay BarBri too. Let's face it, law school is another unnecessary hazing ritual and Ponzi scheme all part in parcel of the hierarchical, elitist, and superficial legal world. It has nothing to do with education or preparation to practice law. I guess law schools all over the world share that in common.

Ha Noi-based Bizlink law consultant Cu Hong Anh said: "Although I gained a lot of knowledge from Ha Noi Law University, I still found myself confused when it came to the reality. Had it not been for the dedicated instruction I received from my firm's supervisors for a couple of months, I don't think I could have pulled it off."

Another graduate from the same university, who wished to remain anonymous, said the problem was that law students had to absorb too much knowledge and thus failed to develop expertise in any particular sub-field.

"In my case, I wanted to become an expert in economic law, but until the third year of my four-year programme I was still learning general law," he said.

Law students are required to "absorb too much knowledge" without actually processing and learning the information at the end of the term because law professors are generally too lazy to give more than one exam per semester. Attendance, participation, and effort are worth zero to ten percent of your grade. All that matters is that you acquire a good outline and memorize a few major points to bullshit your way through an exam. The funny thing is that law schools emphasize rankings when in all honesty rankings matter very little outside of the T14 schools. Even if you graduate at the top of your class at third tier law school, you are still unlikely to find a job. So basically those three years where you stressed yourself out, became depressed, studied your ass off the week before exams, broke off that college relationship, or gave yourself an ulcer was all for nothing.

American law schools may have a few things to learn from the changes being made to the Vietnam law school curriculum.

Ha Noi Law University vice-rector Professor Nguyen Ngoc Hoa said the university had increased practice in the curriculum.

Students have to do weekly assignments on their own and team-work assignments each month to practice legal skills and problem-solving, which also hones their writing and presentation skills.

Senior law student Doan Thu Hang said this process had improved the efficiency of learning.

"Like it or not, this method requires students to rack their brains to research relevant law materials to be able to finish the assignments," Hang said. "I enjoy such discussion and interaction with lecturers."

Sounds like a good idea but weekly assignments and interaction with lecturers would force professors to develop social skills and put in additional work to develop lesson plans. Why actually teach when you can use the same drivel year after year, base students' grades on one exam, and randomly pick a student from a seating chart to torture without ever having to learn their names? This is why it is highly unlikely American law schools will ever reform their outdated teaching methods.


  1. anotherchildofdebtApril 9, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    education never prepares anyone for actually working. my brief stints in 'operation sparkle' taught me more than anything i ever learned in a classroom. basically, instead of traditional detention, it was a clean-up detention where we had to clean the cafeteria after the student body was done making a mess of it, as well as sweep up walkways and beat the dust out of welcome mats.

    How much does a legal education cost in Vietnam, by the way?

  2. I wouldn't even mind as much if I actually learned something. Like in college, I actually learned a language. I retained the knowledge I had learned in history and literature classes. In law school hardly anyone retains most of what is "taught" in the classroom and it certainly doesn't prepare one to practice law which should be the main purpose of attending a professional school.



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