10 Professors You Will Have in Law School

What would law school be without professors? Before I started, I imagined they would all be like the ones on TV and in the movie Legally Blonde. I was wrong. (sort of) Law school professors are as diverse as the students. Here is a basic guide in case you're thinking of going to law school, and if you've already been, it's a trip down memory lane.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is for fun and entertainment only and any opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of Stone Style and/or its affiliates. This writing is based on actual events. In certain cases, incidents, characters and details have been changed or exaggerated for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious.

1)The Benevolent: This is the professor for whose class students will fight to the death for a seat.  She is never in a bad mood. She will never call on you to brief a case. She will genuinely appreciate every student's individuality. She's serious about teaching you the course material, but not too uptight to make the lectures interesting by sprinkling them with occasional drug references from the 70's or Prime-time-TV-approved swear words. Her exam will be the most straight-forward and fair of any other you encounter in law school, and she smells nice too. Stick with this one as much as you possibly can. They don't make them like her anymore.

"You've always had the power to pass the bar. You just have to learn it for yourself.."

2)The Kingsfield: This professor engages in gratuitous humiliation at any possible time. Apparently, he hasn't read the latest studies showing that the Socratic Method doesn't work. This professor hates you and doesn't even know you. He’s out to get you, and he probably will at least once during the semester. You need to be ready for this if and when the time comes. The best way to survive in this class is to be invisible. Write your name as small and as illegibly as possible on the seating chart. Angle your face so that it cannot be seen behind your laptop screen. And never, ever make eye contact. If you do all of these things, you might have a chance. On the bright side, this professor is the one who makes an honest person out of you when you complain brag to your friends and family about how hard you have it as a law student.

Professor Kingsfield stares down an unworthy student.

3)The Law Enthusiast: This professor lives and breathes his area of law. You generally won’t see much of them outside of law school, as the law is their favorite thing to do. They can often be found on campus at 2 in the morning working. They truly love their subject matter and love teaching it. They also love to surround their person with their subject matter. They love nothing more than to be interrupted during office hours by a student with a complex legal question. The tests won’t be easy, but this professor is so good at teaching the material that you might actually learn something so it's not a total loss. You will be thanking them after the bar exam.

"I achieved Nirvana by surrounding myself with statutes."

4) The Veteran: This one should have retired from teaching in 1984, but for some mysterious reason (that even she doesn't know) hasn't. She is tired of the law, teaching the law, and law students. She will probably be irritated with you just for being in the class. The survival technique for this class is similar to the Kingsfield, except you probably won’t get called on unless she is having a particularly crappy day and is prowling for a victim. (This is much more likely to happen if you are caught chatting with your neighbor during class or mysteriously smiling at something on your laptop screen) The positive to this class is that this professor knows their subject matter backwards and forwards, and basically runs the course on auto-pilot.Your semester will make the 452nd time they have taught the class. Rarely will she ever deviate from the script. If you get a good outline and shut up, you will probably be fine in this class.

5) The Newbie: This is an attorney who graduated law school two years ago and is probably younger than you. You will almost always have this person for a non bar-tested course. They are teaching for the first time, and will be really strict and mean at the beginning because they are taking out their nervousness on you. Their syllabus is something they copy-pasted from NYU Law's web page. The assigned reading is whatever pops up on Westlaw when you type in a keycite word, even if it's a 45 page case that is only remotely tangentially related to the course material. They will use PowerPoint like it's life support. Just humor them. They usually come around and end up being really cool people by giving you a good grade for putting up with them.

"I'm going to order you to complete ridiculous tasks to compensate for the fact that I don't know what I'm doing."

6) The Curve Master: This professor gets his jollies out of giving impossibly hard tests. The top score in the class will be a 37. His exams will typically have at least a 60 point curve. He feeds off of your insecurity like a rabid wolverine. If you have the wonderful opportunity to hear him go over the test afterward, he will make it seem like only the dumbest of the dumb would not have immediately known the correct answer to every question. He generally is neutral as far as his demeanor on a day-to-day basis, but God forbid you get called on to brief a case and you don't remember a particular detail that he personally thought was important. You just have to survive this class. That’s all I can tell you.

"5 essays? You've gotta be $%king kidding me."

7) The Mad Hatter: Ironically, this professor is usually teaching the classes that require the most student-teacher interaction. What stands out the most about this professor is that they will instruct you to do asinine, bizarre things, and then when you do them, they will claim that they never told you to do them and that you are unfortunately mistaken. Often they will expect you to inherently know complicated and unfamiliar concepts, while spending the majority of the course time explaining concepts that most students have known since fifth grade, like grammar, for instance. Course grades will be drawn from a hat at the end of the year.  Arguing with them is seriously a complete waste of time. They won’t entertain your point of view, and you will only get more and more frustrated and confused. The best thing to do is humor them as best you can and try to escape Wonderland get through the class. When you are done with the class, you will realize something: You never even took this class. In fact, this class doesn't exist. It's never existed. Unfortunately, you were mistaken.

"There is a fifth dimension known as legal writing."

8) The All-Star: This is the guy who the law school gets to put on their marketing materials. He’s an expert in his field, he’s been published 42 times, he wrote your textbook, and he was the attorney in a landmark case in his specialty area that has been cited to over 15,000 times since. (and it's still good law.) He will love anyone and everyone who shows any interest in his life’s work. The upside is that you will probably get a good grade if you participate in class. The down side is that like most other geniuses, this professor may be a little unpredictable at times. Tread carefully.

"'Genius' is one of the many forms of insanity."

9) The Enchanter: Your first day of class, you will be awestruck and googly-eyed. You will wonder what the heck this professor is doing at your 3rd tier law school and not in the oval office or on the big screen. Is it possible he really cares for you? (gasp and swoon) He is engaging, handsome, and always says the perfect thing every time. He will convince you that he really cares about your law career, and you will believe him, because that’s the effect he has. Then he will give a super hard exam. You'll study all night for it but you'll end up with a C- . You'll be OK with it though, because he’s just that nice. (Hurts so good). You will probably even thank him for the experience. If you were on death row, he'd be the one you'd want to administer your lethal injection because he would probably do it in a really nice way.

"I don't know if I have standing, but I'd love to court you."

10) The Slacker: Professor Edition: He won't be teaching a bar-tested course, but you still need him because people like him are the respite and nepenthe to your GPA. He's the one whose course gives you that little extra push that keeps you from flunking out of law school. He never takes attendance. He never calls on anyone. He never even really assigns any reading. Buying the book is optional. His final exam can be completed in four and a half minutes. Sometimes you aren't entirely convinced that he hasn't pre-gamed a little before class, but you don't care. You love him the way you love your grandpa. And your grandpa would never give you anything less than an A. 

"Remember: Unethical ethics are better than no ethics at all."

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