Socratic Method

The Socratic method is the marathon racing of law school: Greek, very few people like it, those that do are way too into it to be healthy, and the best thing you can say about it is that the first guy who did it died. But law professors continue to sing its virtues thousands of years down the road, even after evidence begins to mount that it puts some students at a distinct disadvantage.

That’s why it’s an event to see law professors argue on an Internet board about the merits of the Socratic method as an instructional strategy….

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In 1973, Hollywood released The Paper Chase upon the unsuspecting prospective law students of the world to dramatize the Socratic method, 100-page outlines, and the most back-biting study group in the world.

The Paper Chase forms one leg of the triumvirate of media forces designed to scare prospective law students, together with Scott Turow’s One L (affiliate link) and everything Elie’s ever written about school.

As the film turns 40 this year (it was released in October 1973), Bloomberg Law compiled a list of the 9 Things You Don’t Know About The Paper Chase.

Sounds to me like Bloomberg is issuing a trivia challenge. Did you already know these fun facts about the dullest law movie ever?

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The Socratic method is the bane of every law student. If executed through cold calling, it meant you sat there knowing that at any given moment you could be called upon to publicly humiliate yourself in front of your peers. Even if the process relied on voluntary participation, there was a sense of trepidation attached to both talking and remaining silent.

Some insufferable douches people enjoyed the “law school experience” of the Socratic method, either because they were academic superstars or otherwise possessed a massive ego and the misapprehension that anyone cared about their opinion.

Here’s how much the Socratic method sucks: it’s named after a guy that everyone thought was so much of a prick they made him kill himself for cold calling everyone in Athens.

There is an argument that the system itself disadvantages women. But “disadvantages women” at what? Being a law student or being a lawyer? Because those are two very different things…

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