10 Things to Expect from Law Professors

By | July 29, 2019
What to Expect from Law Professors

Law professors believe that students are quite reasonable regarding their future and are given free leave to study as and how you want.

Introduction

The season of competitive exam is over and now all the aspirants are quite excited over the allotted of their desired law schools and eager to start a new chapter of their life-quite frankly it’s the phase of transition from teenage high school student who has no such responsibility for their life to adult varsity student who has the sole responsibility in making their career after the graduation.

So with the advent of the new semester, all the fresher’s shall have lots of confusion regarding the new environment that they are going to reside for the next 5 years to who are the professors and what to expect from them. This article is for those students who are eager to know about the varsity’s teacher’s role in student life.

Following are the 10 things to expect from law professors –

1.An interdisciplinary approach to the subjects

Subjects in the university are more specific to a particular discipline (law) rather than the school’s subject which are different. Moreover, each subject of the law are interconnected- like IPC is connected with CrPC and Indian Evidence Act, Contract law is connected with Transfer of Property Act, Public international law is connected with Human rights and so forth. So to understand each subject, it cannot be read in isolation.

Each subject has to be read keeping in mind the other subjects which are related to that subjects, or else students will lack the wholesome understanding of the law an how one law affects the working of another law.

Law schools professors not only make the student study the particular law concerned, but also teach other relevant sections of different laws that have some effect on the concerned law. Like when a professor gives a lecture on IPC, he gives the effort to make sure that student can connect with CrPC and Evidence Act, and how each of them is related, as in law each subject has some relevance in some law or the other.

So the student shouldn’t expect that in the class of IPC the discussion shall revolve around IPC only rather it will be inter-disciplinary approach and student should prepare themselves for the class accordingly.

2. Discussion beyond the classroom

University teaching is substantially different from the school teaching wherein the former case, they aim to make the student understand the reality of the society in the light of the theory that is studied in the class, while in the latter its aim is to give basic knowledge about each aspect of the subjects which shall help them when they specialize in any particular subject.

The idea of law schools is that students should know every aspect of the society which that law governs even if the aspect is controversial, religious. Like when studying about freedom of religion, the topic of Ram Mandir or Triple Talaq or Love Jihad are bound to come in and law professors usually stress on these controversial aspects to make understand what is the current scenario and what are the loopholes of any law because of which the matter remained unsolved.

Law professors also incorporate the recent rulings of the Supreme Court or the recent amendments in their teaching curriculum so that students should have the latest understanding of the law, including the loopholes and the current burning topics. The idea behind this approach is that student should have the gasp of the reality and able to correlate it with the theoretical aspect, as the ultimate aim of the integrated course is that student will deal with the real problem only, and learning only the theoretical aspect excluding the reality will only hamper them. The establishment of an open learning environment, wherein questions, comments, and interaction are encouraged.

3. No provision of homework/classwork aspect

University is the place where students are treated as adults are they believe that students know what’s in their best interest and they don’t need the push which was given in schools.

Law professors believe that students are quite reasonable regarding their future and are given free leave to study as and how you want.

Because of which law professors generally don’t believe in the homework/classwork system, as they assume that students shall read and come the topic which has already been taught and topic which was going to be discussed in the class for better understanding of the topic and clearing the doubts.

Because of this approach students are not governed whether they have read the last days class or not. But exceptions exist, and some teacher particularly focuses on the homework part and they do assign homework for the class and even deduce punishment for not complying with it. But barring few exceptions, law professors leave the method of studying wholly on the students as per capacity and usually don’t interfere in it.

4. Leveraging the strict rules regarding attendance

Law schools usually have strict rules regarding the attendance policy and it’s used by law professors in disciplining the class. Universities usually have an attendance policy of minimum 75% with bonus marks if attendance is above a certain limit.

Now to maintain discipline or to make a student come to class for extra classes or any such like reasons, law professors usually cut down the attendance of the students as a deterrent punishment and this is followed by almost all the professors, some may have a strict policy, some may follow it leniently.

So once freshers enter the law schools, they are bound to hear from different types of the rule followed by different professors for striking down attendance.

5. Availability for confusion clearance

Law professors are really helpful and if one is eager to take a step towards learning, they are more than happy to take two. Many a time what happens is even after attending the lecture certain topic remains unclear, or one has any doubt regarding any aspect of the law, they can approach the teachers in their cabin.

Professors are there in their cabin and students are free to approach them any time they want for clearing any kind of doubt reading any aspect. They are in their cabin especially for this reason and entertain students until and unless the confusion is cleared.

6. Give guidance in non-academic areas

Law professors play an integral part in the student’s life. Law school is not only about studying about also about undertaking different extra-curricular activities and to excel in those areas. Some of the extra-curricular activities like mooting-which are unique competition only for law schools and are quite famous in the legal arena, debate competitions, MUN, different ADR competitions like mediation, client counselling, and others.

Competitions like these require top-notch preparations and sometimes a practical approach to the problem. This is where professors come in, where they with their experience help students.

Some of the professors also mentor the students for the competitions by keeping a close watch on their progress. Apart from that, professors also help and motivate students in publishing research articles in different renowned journals and thus helping in diversifying one’s resume.

Another aspect of the law school is internships and getting internships in top tier law firms or under famous advocates is quite impossible without connections. This is another aspect where students with the help of their professor’s help have secured internships in renowned places.

7. Innovative methods of teachings

The teaching technique of law professes are quite innovative and different than the clique technique used by school teachers. Some teachers use movie clips or even full movies to make the student understand a particular point or section. Like for teaching slavery, they use La Amistad, 12 years a slave.

Using a movie as a means to study is helpful as visual representations are retained in memory longer than just hearing lectures. Apart from that, they use video clips of different types, like for teaching the consumer protection act, teachers use clips of advertisements of different companies, for motor vehicles act, they use clips of different accidents to determine which party was at fault and its relation with motor vehicle act. They even arrange special lectures by professors from different universities or experts from the field concerned so that students get to learn in-depth about the subjects from all the angles possible.

8. Compassionate with students problem

The university environment is different from the school environment where no such compassion is shown to school students. But in university it’s different, as students are not only focused with academic part, but are engaged in co-curricular activities, or may have fallen sick or because of unreasonable schedule completion of assignment couldn’t be possible, or for that matter any problem which student faced are meet compassionate and are solved through mutual understanding.

So if a student is unwell or busy with extra-curricular activities, the exemption is given from giving exams and even special classes are taken to make up for the lost class.

If the schedule of assignment submission is next to the semester exam then it’s postponed. Any type of grievance ranging from professional to personal problem is dealt compassionately and solved to the extent possible. Professors are really student-friendly (barring few exceptions) and support the student in every type of activity undertaken by them and ensure that student welfare is maintained.

9. Punctuality is a virtue

Law schools are stepping stone to corporate lifestyle and among other qualities punctuality is given high regard incorporate lifestyle. Keeping in mind of that requirement, law professors are quite strict in the punctuality departments and for most of them its non-negotiable policy.

Many professors set the exact time ranging from submission of the project, entering the class at the particular time period and missing the deadline even by a single minute is not forgiven and punishment ranges from not accepting the assignment to deducting 10 marks from the assignment.

In many cases, professors even deny attendance to the students. The whole aim is to make students understand the importance of time, till there is time. So once one enters the law schools, one can reasonably expect professors giving introductory speeches regarding the punctuality of time and punishment for not following it.

10. The transition from the cliques’ method of evaluation

Evaluations are part of every teaching curriculum and it has been a clique technique to take a test of 100 marks to decide the knowledge of the students. Law professors have different innovative techniques which not only increase the inquisitiveness of the students but are also very scoring than the traditional methods. Professors usually ask the student to present case analysis on the landmark cases, or they ask the student to give a presentation on any of the current burning topics, or enactment of drama to highlight any social issue or submitting a project on various current socio-economic issues which help students to relate societal issue with theoretical knowledge.

Professors also use pen-paper test, but the questions are more of reasoning and situation-based and proper understanding of the law is required to answer such question.

So these are the few things which one should expect from their law professors when one joins the law schools this fall. Law professor understands that students for the first time living on their own and are themselves responsible for any type of activity, which can be very intimidating at first. Professors try their best to create a nurturing environment so that they can feel safe and at the same time are motivated to explore their talents.

Suggested Readings

  1. 10 Things you will Learn only in Law School(Opens in a new browser tab)
  2. Writing an SOP – Statement of Purpose for a prestigious scholarship? Learn Here(Opens in a new browser tab)
  3. How to Tackle Professional Troubles in your Law Career(Opens in a new browser tab)
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Author: Sagnik Sarkar

Sagnik Sarkar is currently studying BBA LLB in National law University, Odisha and is in his 3rd year. He is interested in mooting, writing a research paper and has publications in his name. Writing a research paper and mooting has helped him in his editing and formatting ability.

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