Lawyers and Literature
James R. Elkins

Jeremy Gilman, "The Real World School of Law"

Jeremy Gilman, "The Real World School of Law," 20 (2) New England Review (1999) [reprinted: 24 Legal Stud. F. 19 (2000)] [online text]

 I assume that "The Real World School of Law" is supposed to be humorous (or entertaining), all the more so to a reader who happens to know something about legal education. Did you find the story humorous? If so, why?

I further assume that a particular reader might not find the story humorous. So, we might divide ourselves into two camps: those who found the story humorous and those who did not. What do you think this division of the class, this division of readers, might tell us about who we are as readers?

[Maybe we could divide the class into two camps, yet again, this time, placing in one camp those who found the Kafka parable intriguing and those who simply found it inscrutable and unsufferable (boring and bothersome even though short). What data might this two camps of Kafka readers provide?]

How do you read Gilman’s story “against” the Kafka parable (that is, does it matter to your reading, that these two stories are juxtaposed to each other in your reading of them)?

How does being a law student affect your reading of the Gilman story?

How would you respond to the follow observation made by a student in Lawyers and Literature:

We sit through class day after day, reading case law and statutes, knowing full well that the majority of us will never have a need to ever know any of this after we take the examinations. I think students should read "The Real World School of Law" at orientation. It is a humorous way to look at law school; it makes you think practically about the education you are receiving, and suggest the need for us to start evaluating our efforts at educations.

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