Advice, For Law Students Too
This Sunday, The New York Times offered superb advice for undergraduates from a wonderful array of scholars, including my favorite (and for so many others) Martha Nussbaum. Law students can learn from some of their insights as well. Here are the highlights (with a few comments):
1. Reading great newspapers will help your writing. Most articles are models of clarity and substance–they banish jargon (and latin phrases) and so should you. Follow their lead; you can’t go wrong. (Linda Greenhouse, Dahlia Lithwick, David Margolick’s At the Bar columns from the past, and many more come to mind).
2. Get lost in great books. Don’t forget to read for you, not just for class. It will help your writing and thinking. (This summer, I re-read Anthony Lewis’s Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment, Rod Smolla’s Deliberate Intent: A Lawyer Tells the True Story of Murder By the Book, Martha Nussbaum’s Hiding From Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law, and Dan Solove’s Understanding Privacy for just that reason).
3. Take classes that stretch your mind, that interest you, rather than just focusing on classes that prepare you for the job.
4. Seek out wonderful professors–what is lasting is how they’ve made you think, not the specifics of any given course.
5. Write as much and as often as you can, and think about classes that ensure you do that.
6. Don’t alienate your professor (and your colleagues–for better or for worse, you are part of a legal community now).