Class of 1972 Five Year Report Alumni Comments - PDF

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University of Michigan Law School University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository Law School Alumni Survey Class Reports University of Michigan Law School Alumni Survey Project Class of 1972 Five
University of Michigan Law School University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository Law School Alumni Survey Class Reports University of Michigan Law School Alumni Survey Project Class of 1972 Five Year Report Alumni Comments University of Michigan Law School Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Legal Education Commons, and the Legal Profession Commons Recommended Citation University of Michigan Law School, Class of 1972 Five Year Report Alumni Comments (1978). This Response or Comment is brought to you for free and open access by the University of Michigan Law School Alumni Survey Project at University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository. It has been accepted for inclusion in Law School Alumni Survey Class Reports by an authorized administrator of University of Michigan Law School Scholarship Repository. For more information, please contact COMMENTS class of ) I will be interested to see the type of conclusions which you can draw from such a sparse questionnaire. / 2) Question VIIA, which se~''quite important in light of ph-~ current controversey, seems t~4a,gue for any meaning ul analysis'. My University of Michigan law school education stressed procedure, preparation, and methodology. The most significant lack which I observe in young attorneys is their failure to understand or research proper procedure, and their lack of preparation. I would opt, in school and on the bar examination, for increased emphasis on how to rather than what. Any attorney can find the law. How to use it, practice it, and better it, is much more difficult, yet is the least stressed area in legal education. Re,;_- VIIA' _,I.~ss~, that you are ask:ing for areas in which I would have taken more courses~ as opposed to area's' in which more courses should have b~ -fered. J~le:u;~~J.ass 7 my indication of a legal writing deficiency is based on a perception that there was insufficient opportunity for legal writing for students who were not members of a journal. ~ As an assistant prosecutor for Wayne county, I do not find very many U of M graduates engaged in the practice of Xcriminal law here. During law school, I held a position as a law clerk with a private firm in Ypsilanti. That was the most valuable training I received during law school. Now, as then, I understand there is great pressure from students to teach them the more mechanical functions of law practice (actual form completion, ~service of process, etc.). Forget it, These things can be learned by an idiot in a few weeks of actual practice. Teach them to reason, to analyze, to solve problems,--and how to write a paragraph. GO~ft~ back te ~~r B... Law school qualifiied me to be learned since then, particularly while a law clerk, meaningfully to whatever ability I presently have a lawyer. What I have contributes most University of Michigan gave me a good over-all legal background, but could improve by adding more third year practical seminars (probably ungraded) which could be taught by practicing attorneys. Such seminars would better prepare students for the real world of law practice.. Keep up the good work. I am always well received by ~ellow lawyers XkH when they learn that I went to U of M., which_ is a great benefit in the practice. I agree with Prof. Allen's comments in recent issues of ~he Quadrangle on the need for a broader, humanitarian approach to legal education More emphasis on legal writing in the law school curriculum. VAn increase in the hiring of law professors who have practiced in the field in which they will teach, especially in business and litigation oriented courses. COMMENTS I began with class.of 1973, but military t :) attend sessnions,. th~aduated end of Dec. 2, barely w~i'r.~class of I consider~elf a part of class o (2) summer Based upon my experience, I feel that the law school curriculum I confronted was divorced from reality, was somewhat useful in teaching the law, but was next to useless in teaching lawyering. For example, much is made today about the need to teach professional responsibility The need to teach professional responsibility is something that must be met in the context of each class, not as a separate subject. The concepts of professional responsibility, of justice, and of similar subjects were not so addressed. Moreover, the principles of bargaining, negotiating, i compromising, cajoling, and the theories of psychology, personality make-up, etc., all so important in conducting day-to-day business in a law office or government department, were not at all presented in law school. I feel the substantive aspects of my Michigan coursework to be of no use.. whatsoever in my present practice. (Indeed, I took few courses related to ~my present practice. Those I took related to my practice [with one exception] were those in which I received my poorest grades.) However, the analytical techniques I learned in those courses have been valuable. I..w~uld ~~-t;.'h&-...ce~s--oof-~tb is s'u;.vey. The Law School curriculum, should be expanded to include a more practical preview of the practice of ~ law, i.e. the economics of the profession. I have found that young attorneys are almost totally ignorant of the business of law -- a situation which I believe should and could be remedied. Negative criticism re Law School: the Socratic (cases, Q & A, little or no /lecturing) method confuses, pretends to pseudo-complexity, and resembles the nutshell gamei also, makes Gilbert Outlines almost a necessity-- to find the forest. While I am presently an investigator for the Senate Subcommittee on i~ Investigation, I have spent most of my time as a trial attorney at the Federal Trade commission and will be moving on again within the next month. My choices are in three directions: 1) Assist. Chief counsel for NHTSA in charge of litigation 2) Deputy Administrator for Blacklung compensation program, Dept. ofblabc La or 2) Director of Evaluation, OSHA Due to my dual background in law and social science, there are many varied and interesting opportunities available to me and which I expect to try during my professional career. THANKS~ /It is possible that the combination of my practicing in Ann Arbor as a V sole practitioner and the fact that my first employer was indicted and convicted of embezzlement of a client's funds (and subsequently disbarred) have made my situation so atypical (I hope) that my responses herein are essentially useless for real statistical purposes. COMMENTS ( 3) I have found it somewhat difficult to fit my career experience into the parameters of this questionnaire. I have worked as an associate in a law firm, a law librarian (academic, then for a large law firm) and currently as '!Supervisory Attorney - Research Services -- a kind of de facto resource person for complicated legal research and for non-legal research, employed by a private law firm. I did not take my first year at Michigan, and am, thus, unqualified by direct experience to comment on the legal research training involved in the case club program. I can imagine, however, on the basis of requests for research support from fellow Michigan grads (and grads from Wayne, Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, Texas and Virginia) that sophistication in legal research technique is normally the result of on the job training or self-instruction. ----M-y-~frustration with law practice was based largely on the perception which I hope is ill founded that in many instances the limitations of time or the cost of time prevent thorough research. This appears especially to be the case in instances where an assignment takes a lawyer outside the research tools with which he is familiar. I found that the kind of objective presentation of how the literature of the law is organized and qpw it is to be approached that were a byproduct of my library education a terrific and embarrasing improvement of my ability to 'practice law,' compared with the often time wasting or informatior missing techniques that I happened to develop in law school and practice. ~ I am not sure how many law students elect the course that Ms. Leary offers, now, in the library school. I would think that a substantial course, outside the confines of the reading and writing program of the first year, may be a,useful contribution both as a model for legal educators generally, and as an offering to current law students. When I.was working in the library at the law school at Penn, we attempted to organize a series of small, no-credit lectures concerning research in tax and labor materials.. for both law and business school students. I ---- would imagine that there might be room for such presentations, mayhap by the library staff, as a part of tax and labor courses. I appreciate this opportunity to report on the harrowing step from the stimulation and pleasure of legal education {at least for the student) to the practical limitations of the world outside. I I do not believe that the law schools {including Michigan) are doing enough to train law students to work effectively. It is not enough to teach research skills, though they are important; somewhere a student needs to learn the art of persuasive writing. I believe Michigan should offer such a course and employ journalism or English professors to teach it, not law professors who do little, if any, writing other than treatises and review pieces and not third-year law students who are no better writers than the first year class. COMMENTS With respect to the ;'answer to Part I~ove, you should know,~t firm by whi~~~''am employed main hs a large olj.t'c~e in thc City and serv~the entire metropol~n Detroit ar~ (4) the law of Detroit My comments relate to item VII of this questionnaire: I do not feel that course offerings should be reduced in any area. It is a great strength of our law school that it can and does graduate lawyers capable of dealing with a wide diversity of problems in many types of practices. I strongly feel that the breadth of the curriculum must be retained. Several areas could receive more emphasis. I believe that advocacy, not! 'limited to the narrow area of trial or appellate advocacy, should be stressed. Every lawyer should be able to public~ly argue a position - effectively and honestly. A seminar giving training and experience in arguing before municipal, administrative, zoning, etc. bodies would be helpful. I also feel that we have an obligation to give more thorough instruction in professional responsibility. I have no doubts about the ethics of Michigan graduates, but find that the Bar as a whole is deficient in this area. As graduates of one of the nation's finest law schools, we should be in the forefront in setting and following the highest of ethical standards. The profile of my class, when sent to me, Y~ill not be relevant unless I have something p6 compare it with {e.y.-; that of the 'J.l; ' c'iass). I suggest that co~arative data also be'sent along to th~e who cooperate in filling t~ out. My income for 197} is a bit exaggerated because of factors contributing to an excell~ear for my firm:~~~ resulted in an extra bonus of approx. ~00. ~I felt that my legal education was excellent. I As to revisions in course offerings, it has occurred to me that some courses which are necessary in teaching a few basic principles, but not of enough significance to justify a 3-hour course, could be reduced to -hour courses, or combined with similar subjects. For example, Conflicts ls an area which is generally necessary to a practitioner. However, it eems to me that the basic principles could be taught in at least 1/3 the time. This may ne~ssitate scrapping the Socratic method, but let the chips fall where they may. As in other areas, the practicing attorney uses a knowledge of Conflicts primarily to identify issues and to know when to research: few specialize in the area. Students should be required to study professional responsibility in more than token capacity. Answers. t~ ~ & X are somewhat~ading since I ~~~lily had&,my present,since May ~ne 1976, we mo,~ Florida, «711ere I (cont) COMMENTS.\ took the Bar, not be' \: for a firm for I clerked fo admitted until May In Florida,. I clerked and we moved back ~orado i_i,} Janttary 1977, where firm until get~this pr~ job. (4) I continue to be proud of my Michigan Law School experience. Michigan should always emphasize having and using professors who teach analyzing and thinking (particularly for first year students). I practice with a firm of 130+ lawyers. The problems are often complex. The law comes from the library--but the confidence and ability to deal with the issues intelligently comes from the Law School. In general, the survey is good. I feel that the following information would be interesting and informative. 1. All occupations engaged in. For example, I do a substantial amount of teaching which does not provide at least 25% of income but is a substantial endeavor. 2. For all participants --how long (if at all) law has been or is being practiced. For example, one may have practiced for a significant time and just recently entered another field. 3. A response regarding our retrospective views on the overall law school program and our years at the school {I, for one, found it so distasteful that I considered it to be a monumental waste of time) 4. A response on specifics why we liked or disliked law school. (In ;my humble opinion, it was considerably too esoteric and ignored the practicalities of being a lawyer; i.e. how to find the courthouse), T~~e,~.oppor:tuni..ty to make :comments. 1. Do C and D in IX a_bl?.j.y to non-marrie~~? Not clear. 2. VII - Difficult~6 single out w~areas should be decreased - They are all important ~should be Js~pt ;s options so!:hat different types of lawyers will ~e produced by law schools. r Much of the information you seek is not only none of your business -'V {family and personal financial info), but also information which in my opinion cannot be meaningfully used by the school, Q g, ~~- In retrospect I have great fondness for my law school experience. I do believe that at least while I was a student the school was neglectful of training in legal research. In fact as a practicing lawyer I find that we lawyers as a group--from the various schools--lack the ability to quickly and correctly find the most pertinent legal authorities when faced with an unfamiliar problem. The result is great wastes of time and all tao frequently sloppy legal practice justified by the pressures of time. The judiciary simply reflects {very often) the deficiences of the advocates. / Reg-ard&r?~-tem~ Vl:l: my-- pnretice -would--l-ead~ me to take more courses in the l... * ' --- aeeas-tnow-wcfrk-stqn±ficantly in. However, I feel the broad background offered by the varied course offerings at U/M goes far to broadening a lawyer's education t:f\ue expj.ailli:ag KH my l :imitoo response reyart:h:ng GOtU?Se aeleti'*l&-..., The only course I took which I feel has benefitted me to an insignificant amount in my practice was legal history COMMENTS (5) I believe law school courses, particularly the basic ones, should be taught with a combination of the case method and an outline--such as Gilbert s outlines. The outline is a fantastic tool for giving a student the overall perspective of how the details of a subject fit together. The case method is important--students must learn to read opinions and to cull from them principles of law. But a good working knowledge of the subject s total identity is equally important I learned a great deal in bar review courses. I am confident that I understood contracts, torts, evidence, etc., more completely after the bar course than I did in school. Questionx's a9swer may be somewha~~isleading in tha~~~ present employment pays substaptially less than I ~ earning in pri~e practice. I feel that a clinical law program is an excellent idea, since there are many aspects of legal practice which can only be learned by doing. Medical schools provide for internships as part of a medical student's education, and I do Inot know why law schools cannot do the same. v/also, I feel that the eriminal taw and eriminal Procedure courses I had in law school would have been much more helpful if the professors had actually taught the subject matter, rather than used the time to moan and cry about police misconduct. My -fai.~-to respond,tq.. l'art VII simpl.y:~.reflects my personal view at this time~ ~~ iea~&.. l.~ in retrospect, the curriculum was well balanced and I, fortunately, appear to have made wise choices given the legal areas in which I work most frequently. I would like to add that I happen to share Dean Allen's view (as recently expressed in portions of his article in Law Quadrangle Notes ) that those who feel that the primary or sole function of an outstanding law school is to train its students in the nuts and Bolts are mistaken. I hope the conceptual rigor of law school instruction in general and at the U-M in particular remains. 1. General:1:y~T beli.eve I received an excellent education from U-M Law School. 2. However, a clinical law program for the business area would be helpful. ;3. A greater emphasis on the tax aspects ofbusiness transactions would be v'helpful for a practitioner in my position, who, although I specialize in securities law and commercial law (UCC, UCCC, bankruptcy), is also general counsel to small and medium size businesses., One area where improvement could be made in 3rd year courses is to provide vf simulated experience, problem solving, in ha~ing and identifying problems involving divergent and interrelated law. For example, the horror stories we often encounter where estate planning objectives are complicated by corporate tax, income tax, securities law, private foundation law and other restrictions. In my view, and it's widely shared, some areas should be found to incorporate uf into the law school education, training in the drafting of basic legal documents, together with a greater emphasis upon the basic legal problems faced by an attorney and how to approach these problems. COMMENTS (6) I felt too much emphasis was placed on career guidance in large private firms--not enough was made available about corporate opportunities, and smaller firms in smaller communities were almost discouraged. Also, 2 years of law school classroom training and 2 years of clerkship in ''real life'' situations I feel would better prepare the young lawyer to practice and serve the public than the present 3 years and a bar exam format. I dare say the only functions of the bar exam are 1) to insure familiarity with local law in basic areas 2) to keep out competition. This questionnaire fails to delve into areas in need of examination. school was, in the main, very boring and utterly irrelevant to the practice of law. Law I think the most important mission of a law school is to teach the dialectic and the basic tools of problem solving and advocacy, negotiation, ethical consideration, etc., at least for the practicing lawyer. For the governmentally inclined an overlay of legislative process might be helpful. I think courses which present finite problems for research, planning and argumentation can be best, especially if they are designed to stimulate thought and policy balancing, deal with issues at the fringes of decided principles, and are likely to ensure ultimate familiarity with the entire range of research possibilities. No one can hope to absorb all the law or to anticipate his areas of emphasis. I have found a knowledge of accounting to be absolutely essential in almost every area of my practice. The law school should greatly expand its curriculum in this area or require undergraduate courses for admission. I spend 100% of my time in the management labor law area. This is the area of specialization I intended to practice before I entered law school and the area I trained in while in school - in that se
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