Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How to be (Sort of) Happy in Law School - Review

I finished reading How to Be Sort of Happy in Law School by Kathryne M. Young, JD, PhD.  It was a fun and quick read. Here is the review that I left on

I had to buy this book when I read the title on  It was most intriguing.  As the author of So, You Want to be a Lawyer, Eh? Law School in Canada, Third Edition, I was very interested in what Ms. Kathryne M. Young, Ph.D., JD meant by "Sort of".  I have spoken to many, many law students, former law students and lawyers or former lawyers who have shared numerous stories of how great law school is or was, or how terrible it is or was.  Ms. Young has collected a wide range of similar stories in her academic work (especially about difficult or poor experiences), and she has shared many of those comments in this book.  This was most engaging to read, especially in that many of the shared anonymous comments were from a large cross-section of law students across the US from a variety of law schools.  This lends great credibility to her very entertaining commentary about the law school experience.

At first, I was skeptical of Ms. Young, when reading the beginning of this book when she shared that she had quite despised many aspects of law school.  I actually enjoyed many aspects of law school at the University of Alberta in Canada, but as I continued to read this book, I smiled often as I remembered various experiences and possibly even traumas throughout my law school experience and as I started in my legal career.

My favourite parts of this very well written, introspective, and quite complete commentary about the law school experience was Ms. Young's personal commentary about law school professors (especially the crappy ones) and her individual thoughts about how the law school experience and law school pedagogy could be improved upon.  As an instructor of law-related courses at the Dhillon School of Business, I am always looking for more effective ways to teach university students about the law.  Ms. Young, although not a law school professor, has many good ideas here that she is willing to share.  I do hope that some, or rather many, law school professors read this book and take note of the student commentary and Ms. Young's thoughtful suggestions for improvement.

This could have been a depressing read, with many of the student comments being quite negative or even shocking.  However, Ms. Young has provided many resources and suggestions for getting through the more obviously difficult experience of law school, and to find potential success in the legal field.  She does not sugar coat law school at all.  It is obvious that Ms. Young has more to say about how we could improve law schools.  However, she comes across as being optimistic in the end.

The sociological approach and commentary are a welcome addition to the law school guidebook libary, and I hope that many of my readers will consider this entertaining and enlightening book as they approach law school or as they navigate their way in or out of law school.

I think that many of my law school and legal colleagues might have benefited from reading this book and possibly leaving law school or the legal profession before it became a true chore to them.  Many people enter law school with naive ideologies and are afraid to pursue a different path that might be more agreeable to their personalities.  It is well worth considering the commentary in this book as you contemplate your career choices.

As I said, I really quite liked law school, and many people have shared that sentiment with me.  However, it is important to look at law school from many perspectives before plunging in.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any prospective or current law student, or to all law school professors or law school administrators.

You can view and buy the book on Amazon by clicking here. They have the print version and the Kindle eBook version.

1 comment:

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