Law School Up Close


Book Review: The Law School Trip - A Sarcastic Appeal to Humor



A parody of law school preparation, advice from upperclassmen, professors, and just about everything else in legal education, The Law School Trip serves its purpose as a wise parody written by someone who has also written a serious book about Las School, 1L of a Ride.

Off The Wall From The Get-Go

McClurg hits the mark from the get go, by citing the title of his book to the relationship between going through law school and ingesting drugs. His use of product warnings in chapter 2 notably mocking the practice of law itself as opposed to just the legal education was amusing, and a good representation of the content in this book. It is zany, off-the-wall sarcastic humor with a dash of witty truth mixed in. This book suits you if the reason for reading it are purely for enjoyment, particularly if you have read several other law school prep books prior to this one. If, on the other hand, you are trying to get some substantive information, I would recommend a serious title.

Where McClurg shines in The Law School Trip is in the info blurbs between the actual writing. Things included in these sections are tips, "sample questions", and listed guidelines that come off as serious, but are actually ridiculous. This is a common method for real books of this genre to "claim their authority" in the domain. They either create a 10 point list of "Must Do to Succeed" points or cite a "REAL exam question" and then give you the "pro's approach" to solving it. He particularly leverages this in chapter 4, when he goes over some previous LSAT problems and other aspects of law school admission.

A Tribute to Professor Kingsfield

If you haven't seen The Paper Chase, Professor Kingsfield is a particularly tough Contracts professor. Nearly all of the law school prep books discuss profs of this nature. My personal opinion is that it is always best to approach everyone with an open mind. Nevertheless, I now have an expectation of at least several horrifying moments involving the Socratic Method.

McClurg's thoughts on the law school faculty were particularly refined, as he is a Professor himself. As a result, you can tell that he mixes a bit more truth into his sarcastic breakdown of this aspect of the education system.

"The top five subjects of conversation most loved by law professors are:

  1. Their brains.
  2. Their children
  3. Their children's brains.
  4. Their brainy new law review article.
  5. Their dean's lack of brains."

He especially emphasizes to play on point 2,

"In fact, you need to know that LAW PROFESSORS HAVE INCREDIBLY ADORABLE CHILDREN"

and it is fair to say that there is probably some truth to the sentiment that this is important to recognize, at least verbally.

Overall, I thought that this was an amusing read, and showed a lot of effort by the author to maintain the half-truth speak throughout the entire novel. My complaint is that it can seem odd to be reading this book at times. For one, if you find yourself skimming a book that is intended for humor, it can make you wonder what value you are deriving from reading this.



Author


Ted Rand