When I was applying to law school, I ended up having to make some difficult decisions (as we all do). Basically, my options boiled down to School A with some financial assistance, School B with more assistance, or School C with a significant amount of assistance. I distinctly remember discussing those options with a friend/recent graduate. He told me that he’d attended a school with minimal assistance and his loan payments repayments were essentially going to amount to a second mortgage for the foreseeable future. Suffice to say, loans are a significant factor driving many applicants decision to apply to law, and the practical ramifications of taking out significant loans should not be ignored.
When you think of law school, the scene that comes to mind might well be the beginning of the movie The Paper Chase, where a law professor calls on a student the first day of class and ruthlessly interrogates him about a case he didn’t know he was supposed to read. Law school professors are notorious for “cold calling” students — essentially, calling on individuals at random to answer questions without waiting for students to raise their hands. It’s a source of stress, especially when a lot of new law students are used to seminar-style classes in undergrad where they could pick up participation points by giving their opinion about a novel they looked up on Sparknotes that day. Cold calling takes away so much of your control over how and when you participate, so you have to be on your guard all the time. Now a few weeks into law school, I have been cold-called, and I’ve also observed it in my classes almost every day. With that experience in mind, I can answer some of the most common questions people have about professors cold calling in law school.