|A 1L Odyssey, Part 2
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Fortunately, the second semester shimmers like an oasis.
Melissa weathered the dry material, the basic building blocks
of a legal education. Now she gets to choose electives. It’s fun.
Classes are smaller. Students from other sections are in her class,
even some 2Ls and 3Ls.
Her electives are Environmental Law and Legal Responses
to Inequality. She finds both classes stimulating. They are also
more informal than the required courses: Criminal Law and
Constitutional Law, which she also enjoys.
She calls Criminal Law Professor Stephen Morse “a phenomenal
lecturer.” Assistant Professor Kermit Roosevelt, who teaches
Constitutional Law, encourages freewheeling, theoretical discussions.
Legal Responses to Inequality, taught by Howard Lesnick,
reminds her of undergraduate philosophy courses she loved.
And then there’s Jason Johnston’s class on Environmental Law.
Melissa liked him so much in the first semester that she has enrolled
in another one of his classes.
Less fun — but no less important — is Legal Writing. Melissa
spends more time on Legal Writing than on any other subject
— up to 30 hours a week. There’s good reason for that, according
to Anne Kringel, Senior Lecturer and Legal Writing Director.
“Law is a writing profession,” she says. “All lawyers have to
communicate a position and answer questions about it. All lawyers
have to be able to structure a persuasive argument. It may
be in the format of a brief. It may be a letter to a client, or a letter
to opposing counsel. It may be part of a settlement negotiation.
It may be part of a deal negotiation. There are very few lawyers
who don’t write on a daily basis. It’s a vital skill.”