Law Students

A Marketing Prof Tries Law School, Encounters Stress Level that Is ‘Scarily High’

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A 58-year-old marketing professor is a 1L at New York Law School, largely because of a stint on jury duty and a dinner party conversation with a woman who turned out to be the dean.

Writing at Inside Higher Ed, Steve Cohen recalled how he told the woman about an article he had just written about his recent jury duty in a major trial. He told of an interest in law school, and, “before my second glass of wine, I had a tentative admission,” he writes.

Cohen says he’s working harder as a law school night student than he ever did as an undergraduate or graduate student. He’s learning about the demands and reflecting on the students he taught in night classes. “When I grumbled about their lack of preparation, I really had no sense of competing demands,” he writes.

He also makes these observations:

• The stress level is “scarily high” because of the pressure for good grades, coupled with a demanding workload. “From the very first week of law school, assorted deans stressed that our job prospects upon graduation would be directly related to our first-year grades,” Cohen writes. “This is particularly salient inasmuch as we attend a ‘second tier’ law school.”

• Computers in the classroom are a bad idea. “I am utterly shocked by the number of students who spend the entire class on their BlackBerry or Facebook account,” he says. “I find it both stupid and rude.”

• Young people drink a lot. “I am not a teetotaler,” Cohen says. “But I am amazed by how much people in their 20s drink. And how often they drink to excess. Getting sick from alcohol is neither a badge of honor—as it is among underage drinkers—or a stigma. But for me it is disturbing.”

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