May 13, 2004

A reality show about a law firm? I want one about a law school!

Gordon is blogging about the new TV show "The Partner." Here's some descriptive material (from a page rendered unreadable, to me at least, by all kinds of animated crap moving around):
[T]he hour-long show ... will be eight to ten episodes in length and, similar to NBC's The Apprentice, feature two competing teams. Unlike Apprentice, however, rather than be divided by gender, the composition of the teams will be determined by the prestige of the contestants' law schools -- with Ivy Leaguers forming one team and graduates of 'less prestigious' schools forming the other.

Each week, the two teams will compete as prosecutors and defenders in mock trial cases that will be presented before a jury of real people which will have been selected by the contestants. After hearing the arguments, the jury will determine the winner of the trial, with the losing team having to appear before a fictitious judge.

So great, I can watch moot court on TV. It's well known, isn't it, that "less prestigious" schools typically win moot court competitions? Does it show whether "prestigious" schools are not really what they're cracked up to be? No, because it all depends on the motivations of particular individuals choose to enter competitions rather than to take advantage of some other option. Note that the cases for the show are all criminal law cases. Aren't those prestigious school grads going into corporate law or some other glossy opportunity?

Gordon asks, "Who decides which law schools are 'prestigious'?" That's easy: U.S. News!

Hey, they need to make a reality show out of law school itself. Get some really tough retro lawprofs to wield intense Socratic method in faux classrooms. You could do exciting issues with discussions of law and social policy (rather than questions of fact about whether a (nonexistent) criminal defendant is guilty). At the end of each episode, the lawprof could do a version of that old routine of giving the student a dime and saying, "Call your mother and tell her you'll never be a lawyer." Yeah, pay phones aren't a dime anymore, but who uses a pay phone now. Have Cranky Old Retro Lawprof hand one student a cell phone.

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