Law: Class “selection”

November 3, 2007

This week was the next step in setting our Spring semester schedules.  At the start of the year we had two classes fixed:  Contracts and Leg-Reg (time it took students to nickname the new class, under a week).  This week we “pick” our international class, then in a couple of weeks we will “pick” our real elective. 

I use the term “pick” as a term of art that means nothing like what it sounds (like the property opinion I read today where violant means something not at all like what violant means).  “Picking” classes actually means ranking them first to last and letting the computer assign us what we get. 

Given that I couldn’t care less about international law, when discussing the process as a section, I asked the professor “Which of these is going to be the most practical” which I followed with a muttered “I’m guessing not critical legal studies?”

What followed was not really an answer, more of a strong statement of an opinion that “a little theory won’t kill us.”  Now, for a law professor, this didn’t seem related to the question at all (which he may have prefaced with, I dont remember.)  I didn’t ask him what class he thought I should take, I asked which class would have the best chance of being useful.  Let me explain my reasons for asking to better demonstrate how not helpful this answer is. 

I don’t like international anything really.  I like the olympics, Asian cars, and cheap stuff from other countries, but I’m not generally that interested in international law as a field.  I had an international relations subfield as part of my PLS degree, I didn’t really like it.  I tool Interational Law in UG and walked away feeling ripped off because there really is no true international law.  I just don’t care much and if I’m going to have to take it, I would rather take the one that will give me the best chance of learning something useful, this doesn’t seem like an wrong view.

The argument that was furthered was “if we thought you needed more practical, we’d give you more practical.”  Well, assuming thats true (which I don’t necessarily buy), then can’t I work that logic the other way?  The school things ALL these classes meet their goal of locating law in an international setting, so if I want it o do that practically, whats the harm?

With that, my Rankings:

1.  International Economic Law with Brewster.  I confess, I was much more interested in the other section of this class, but after careful consideration I elected to rank this one first.  Goldsmith is a mini-legal celebrity at the moment and I think he will be in high demand.  Additionally, as a well known conservative, I think that all of the JLPP people will flock to this class and despite my enjoyment of conservative issues, I want at least some diversity.  Also, I really don’t like any of the other classes, so while I would prefer the other class, it seems like ranking this one first seems the best option to make sure I get into International Economic Law.

2. International Economic Law – Goldsmith (see above).

3 & 4:  The class creatively called “International Law”.  I picked these mostly by default.  I am not particularly excited as I could see the class ended with “so basically, its all custom and treaty” which seem like a waste to me. 

5. Feldman’s class.  I don’t know anything about this class.  The fact tat Feldman teaches it and I put it fifth means I won’t get in, but I couldn’t bring myself to put either of the other classes ahead of it.  Since a significant chunk of the female population here would kill to be Profesor Suk and married to Feldman, I think its not a stretch to say this class could be extremely gender-unbalanced.  Mabye a good class to meet girls… except their eyes might be firmly planted on the teacher.

6. Something about China – Alford (or something like that):  This outranks the last class by default.  No real interest, although dealing with China seems like something I may very well need to know how to do.

7.  Some class that looks at lots of legal traditions – Duncan Kennedy (Spelling?).  Look, I know he is brilliant and the star in his field, but he is a critical legal theory guy.  There is NOTHING practical about critical legal studies, NOTHING. 

So there are my rankings, for those of you that know what I’m talking about I’d welcome your commens.  For those of you that don’t sorry for the blather, hopefully you found at least something to read.


One Response to “Law: Class “selection””

  1. […] 7th, 2007 A few days ago I talked about the process that the school calls class “Selection.”  After that post, a good friend of mine pointed out that THIS TOO is a lot like sorority […]

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