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Preparing Law Students for Disappointing Exam Results: Lessons from Casey at the Bat

69 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2007  

Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego, School of Law - Professor of Law Emeritus

Abstract

It is a statistical fact of life that two-thirds of the law students who enter law school will not graduate in the upper one-third of their law school class. Typically, those students are disappointed in their examination grade results and in their class standing. Nowhere does this disappointment manifest itself more than in their attitude toward their classes. In the fall semester of their first year, students are eager, excited, and willing to participate in class discussion. But after they receive their first semester grade results, many students withdraw from the learning process - they are depressed and disengaged. They suffer a significant loss of self-esteem. This article considers whether law professors should prepare their students for the disappointing results - the poor grades - that many are certain to receive. I assert that professors do indeed have a role to play - in fact, a duty to their students - to confront this problem. I offer a strategy by which professors can acknowledge students' pre-examination anxiety and deal constructively with their impending disappointment. There are lessons to be learned from Casey at the Bat, Ernest Lawrence Thayer's immortal poem about failure.

Keywords: legal education, psychiatry and psychology, law and literature, law school exams

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Morris, Grant H., Preparing Law Students for Disappointing Exam Results: Lessons from Casey at the Bat. San Diego Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 2, May/June 2008; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-118. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1018729

Grant Harold Morris (Contact Author)

University of San Diego, School of Law - Professor of Law Emeritus ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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