SO I WATCHED THE PAPER CHASE last night, for the first time since my first year of law school. As Yale Law students, a bunch of us watched it during exams and laughed at how the Harvard weenies suffered; there were no Kingsfields at Yale, the closest approximations being Quentin Johnstone and the very early Lea Brilmayer, but they were a far cry from Houseman. Of course, there were no Kingsfields at Harvard by then, either.
Which prompts Ann Althouse to inquire whether:
Would you want a Socratic professor? Would you want to be one?
As is well known, I am not a Socratic professor. Hard or soft. And, unlike so many of colleagues, I'm proud of it, as I relate in my essay Reflections on Twenty Years of Law Teaching: Remarks at the Rutter Award Ceremony, in which I reflect on my "progression from frustrated Socratic teacher to happy lecturer." In the video that follows I explain why I gave up on Socrates and why I think teaching students to think like lawyers, as Kingsfield claimed to do, is a bad idea: