It has been a bit more than a month since I started my law school. Maybe it’s a seasonal thing, but as the time passes, I am disappointed on a daily basis. Fast.
I was warned, but the 1st year of law school education is so inefficient and broken. It’s a lot like South Korean public education system, which has been malfunctioning for a good 10-20 years. In South Korea, learning doesn’t happen in schools. The actual learning happens outside of school – tutoring, study aid books, and hagwons. These are all for to be graded in school. The entire education is focused on one-shot-per-year college entrance exam. In sum, you don’t really learn anything from a school. You learn through out-of-school institutions, and the school is there to grade you for your out-0f-school efforts (and, arguably, financial means to do that).
People say it has to be reformed. But the more you delve into the problem, you realize it’s such a complex problem. The whole “prep” industry is based on the broken system, and I bet there are so many strong ties between the Ministry of Education, schools and the prep industry.
1L is so much like this. You don’t learn jack shit in class. All the professors talk about is how this case is related to that case, the history of such-such concept, how certain element is related to the case, etc. There’s too much material to be covered in the short amount of time. It’s not about what the law is, what the principles of law application, let alone the technical skills of a lawyer. There are schools that are more focused on practical skills, such as learning how to interview and write court documents from day 1. But, a lot of these schools are out of ranking system. They are not highly deemed, and for a foreigner like me, with high possibility of getting a job in oversea (and I don’t mind that), it’s a highly risky choice. If I had a proper residence-ship, I wouldn’t mind going into one of these schools and be a mom-and-pop lawyer. Well, I can’t.
Just like South Korea, there is a massive industry leaching on the system. There are myriad of study aids, advisory service and exam preps, charging students. I don’t know how many study aids I bought this time. I have never bought this many study aids during my journey in the American education system. Everyone does buy.
And the only practical course of the 1st year – legal writing and research – gives you far less credit, if not ungraded. I honestly think it would be better if all 1L students take the legal writing and research first and then do all that “mandatory” courses.
So, I don’t know. If I were an American, I would have quit and look something else. But I’m not an American, and I really don’t want to be tied down in Korea. I really don’t know – should I just quit and go to interpretation school? Or just suck it up and wait for a brighter day, where I can actually socialize with more like-minded people and take more practical courses?
Let me know what you think, please.