avatar Sophist ATL Idol.jpg[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
With classes starting soon, another crop of 1Ls will be starting on a journey that has only one sure outcome: the accumulation of useless information devoid of any practical professional relevance.
Once you take away all of the prestige-whoring, grade-inflating shell games that allow top schools to separate you from your future earnings, can’t most law classes be reduced to an Emanuel’s outline and a BarBri lecture?
Which classes were the most irrelevant to the life of a Biglaw associate?

Today I’ll offer my worthlessness rankings on basic classes that most everyone was forced to take. Thursday I’ll open up the field and rank useless classes that ATL readers could have avoided, in a bold “Clarice Starling” attempt to save just one law school lamb from signing up for International Law.
But I’m about more than telling 1Ls that the next three years of their lives are pointless (though, really guys, totally pointless, just saying). I’ll be offering up alternative classes that might not be available at your local registrar, but that every Biglaw associate needs to take before leaving law school’s protective cocoon.
After the jump, see the classes worth sleeping through.


4. Tax
Tax is for people of superior intellect that are also celibate. It’s the new priesthood. And just like dealing with the real clergy, all most Biglaw associates need to do is identify one tax attorney they trust, ask them questions, and keep quiet about all the “bad touches.”
Replacement Class: Partner Pleasing; A Seminar.
Every partner is different, but there are universal truths that can be learned. Partners believe that they are important, much more important than you. Eventually this will be beaten into you, so you might as well start in school.
3. Torts
B>PL. Palsgraf. The tort-lottery theory. Damnit Jim I’m a lawyer not a delicatessen owner. With all due respect to 1-800-LAW-CASH, you can skip this course entirely. Though, I do like knowing the answer to “what is a tort” for parties and random conversations with cab drivers.
Replacement Class: Poker.
If you want to make extra money on the side using your legal brain, poker is a fun and lucrative alternative to insurance liability defense. It requires logical thinking, concentration, and the ability to look confident even when you are completely full of it. If you can pass poker, you’ll be a star at every closing.
2. Constitutional Law
Con Law should just be renamed Gunner-Heaven. If that is not reason enough to avoid as many class sessions as possible, consider also that if you are a junior associate and you find yourself walking into a partner’s office with a research memo full of irrelevant SCOTUS cases, you had better bring your own lube.
Replacement Class: Clinic: How to Get a Clerkship.
Law schools will bring law firms right up to your front door, but when it comes to snagging a clerkship you’re better off turning to Survivorman Les Stroud for guidance. Just remember, dress in layers and stay hydrated, you might be off on a long trek.
1. Property
Unless you plan to be a squatter, property devolves into figuring out how to piss off your neighbors without going to jail. I suppose T&E attorneys use some of what they learn, but those people have their own separate class where they can learn how to restore power to the cold, dead hands of the landed gentry.
Replacement Class: Advanced Functional Alcoholism.
Of course, if you are a squatter, it’s probably because you failed this course. Most successful associates have mastered the binge, boot, “blackberry from home while pretending to be in the office” cycle that allows you to make friends and keep your job.
Did I miss anything useful in these course offerings? What else have you learned once and never used again?


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