Get Out: Becoming a Practice-Ready Lawyer

Law school is an ivory tower. It exists hundreds of miles above our clients’ on-the-ground experiences. We sit in these rooms—divorced from reality—deriving “holdings” from age-old judicial opinions. We theorize, contemplate, and speculate about principles of law from our aerial view. And in your typical law school class, we students play props in professors’ “elevated” academic exercises; we are nothing but their mouthpieces in what they so lovingly call the “Socratic method.” It’s no wonder, then, that I keep hearing that law school teaches you everything about the law . . . except how to be a lawyer. Lawyering—and especially public service lawyering—demands an intimate connection with our clients’ lived experiences, with what is actually happening on the ground. We cannot foster that connection from behind the bars of the ivory tower’s windows. We cannot learn to be a lawyer from way up…

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