Reason Not to Go to Law School #4

Cheating.

Given the stereotypes about lawyers, it’s no surprise that law students cheat.  It’s a high-stress, competitive environment, and potentially millions in career earnings could ride on getting the right summer job.  In an anonymous survey, almost half of law students admitted to cheating at least once.

What makes cheating particularly bad in law school is that almost every class is graded on a curve.  If half the students cheat, the other half is screwed.  A lot of classes use pretty decent security measures, closed book tests with software that locks out all other programs on your laptop.  So, how does cheating happen?  It happens because other classes are ridiculously easy to cheat in.

The obvious place to cheat is in any sort of take home test.  It’s well known that study groups tend to carry over until after the test has been handed out.  And no, the curve doesn’t prevent this.  In a class of 100+ students, collaborating with 3 or 4 others will help you more than it hurts.  Some people go one step further and get their attorney parents  to help.

Getting parents to help is especially common for legal writing/research classes.  Most of these classes are pass/fail though, so it doesn’t hurt other students.  In fact, you’ll get better feedback having your practicing attorney parent help than you’ll get from the 3L who reads you papers.  Students should be encouraged to do a first draft on their own, but getting outside help after that should actually be encouraged and not considered cheating.

The other way people tend to cheat is on limited-closed book exams.  I’m talking about exams where you are limited on what you can bring in.  For instance, in my civil procedure exam, we could bring in our copies of the FRCP, but nothing else.  The professor said we weren’t allowed to write any new notes in the book, but could leave whatever we’d already written.  Yeah, guess how many people actually stuck to that.

Also, many exams have a time limit, but can be downloaded at any point over a two-week time period.  Plenty of people download the exam early on, wanting to get it out of the way, and then are just nice to their friends and print off a copy for them to work on before downloading the exam themselves.  Getting a week to work on an 8 hour exam can make a huge difference in your grade.

And finally, there’s the Adderall.  Now, some people legitimately need drugs to treat ADD (maybe).  But, it’s incredibly easy to get drugs from someone else, or to just get your doctor to write you a bogus prescription.  About 10% of law students have admitted to abusing Adderall to gain an advantage in studying for exams.

Given how strictly law schools stick to their curves (my 1L Torts class got its grades rejected because they didn’t match the curve), you almost have to cheat to get the grades you deserve from your law school.  That’s a pretty screwed up environment to live in for three years.

But there is at least one type of student who won’t cheat:

The hot girl in a long distance relationship with a guy who by all accounts seems to be a complete douchebag.  If someone in your class claims she used to do some modeling, it’s that girl.

Don’t try to identify her by her Facebook status.  She lives on attention and won’t have anything listed in her relationship status.

She’ll flirt with you and dress like a raging whore for the school’s halloween party, you’ll hear rumors about this guy or that, but in the end it turns out just spreads blue balls like law schools spread dreams of financial security.

Sorry.

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