Law Schools, Texas

University of Texas Law School Tries To Become Hogwarts

The Texas Law School is that way.

Everything is softer in Texas?

Occasionally we have an opportunity to look at how soft law school has become. Gone are the trials by fire immortalized in the book One L. Now it seems that law schools are taking their teaching cues from Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore.

At the University of Texas School of Law, they’ve divided their classes into “societies” that compete against each other in games, wear special uniforms, have dedicated house mentors, and employ special Care Bears who hug people when they get back from the library. Okay, one of those things isn’t true.

Of course, the Texas millennials love it…

If you graduated from Texas after 2005, you might not know how weak your law school has become. The UT Law magazine has a nice feature article on how the “Society Program” works at UT Law:

“The Society Program is designed to make us a happier, better place,” is how David Sokolow, di­rector of student life and Society Program advisor puts it. “And I think we are succeeding in that goal.”

So, how does the Society Program work? Each year, the Law School’s entering class num­bers approximately four-hundred freshmen. Entering students are placed in one of eight societies, each of which comprises about fifty entering students (and thus about 150 students from all three years, as students maintain their society affiliation throughout their time at the Law School) and is named after an individual who has made a significant impact on the Law School (see below). Each society has a faculty advisor responsible for developing society-wide activities of a social, intellectual, professional, and public-service nature….

The structure and activities combine to pro­vide and foster social and intellectual interaction among first-year students; between first-, sec­ond-, and third-year students; between JD and LLM students; and between students and fac­ulty and alumni and working legal professionals.

Happy! Mentoring! Yay! (/sarcasm off).

Sorry, if I went to UT Law, I’d be in the Slytherin society or something.

How is Texas paying for it?

Since its beginning, the Society Program has been generously sponsored by Fulbright and Jaworski, which contributes $50,000 each year to sponsor Society Program events and activi­ties, including the colorful T-shirts each Society member wears at the annual games.

“Fulbright’s help has been exceptional in cre­ating this unique program,” Sokolow said. “It’s really helped make the Society Program work.”

If anything, I thought Texas would the school that goes the other way. Why coddle law students, why not prepare them for the professional world? Texas should be making students take exams while bullets whiz past their heads. Texas should be teaching kids how to research law out in the ranchlands without a “highfalutin interweb connection.” Texas should be teaching future litigators how to combat Yankee arrogance with the actually more arrogant Texas arrogance.

Texas should be running a law school, not a goddamn law sleep-away camp.

Whatever, I guess that’s just the way the younger generation rolls. They need things to be more intimate, they need mentors, they need water balloon fights where “fun” is the only winner. If the Alamo was fought today, Texas would be the oil capital of Mexico.

But it is going to be hilarious when one of these future Texas grads asks an old-school judge if there will be orange slices provided during trial.

The Society Pages [UT Law Magazine]

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