Miller on CivPro

Published: Jul 28, 2008

Topics: Law       

If schadenfreude and obscure law student blogs are how you get your kicks, go ahead and google the phrase “I hate civil procedure”—it’ll give you some sense of the fear, loathing and bewilderment the course inspires in 1Ls everywhere:

“There is more reading in that class than all three of my other major classes combined. I feel like I spend over half my life reading boring bullshit about long arm jurisdiction or “purposeful availment… I hate civil procedure.”

“I've been studying civ pro for what feels like an eternity. what a god-awful subject. So many ridiculously nit-picky rules and nuances. I think if there is a civ pro essay on the bar I will just write the bar examiners a short story of my choosing for that 30 minutes—the topic? Probably batman or ninjas.”

“It probably would have helped if we had a teacher who was more interested in teaching us the basics than in telling stories about when he was practicing.”

“I hate Civil Procedure by the way. I'm so screwed.”

According to Arthur Miller in his SEO CLI talk, Civil Procedure is so difficult for two reasons: the utter foreignness of the subject matter and the simple fact that it is frequently poorly taught  (‘Some professors teach the forest, others the leaves…the good ones teach the trees’).

Why so ‘foreign?’ According to Miller, it is because Civ Pro has ‘a mission that other course do not’: it teaches students how to read and comprehend statutes (ie the FRCP). And about that reading?  ‘What you read in law school is not like reading a comic book, it is closer to reading the Talmud.  Deep reading and deep comprehension [pregnant pause]—that is what lawyers do.

And why all the poor teaching? According to Miller, there is confusion about what civil procedure is: “20 years ago, all civil procedure professors were on the same page, whereas today, there is broad range of opinions as to what the course ought to be.  Particularly, former litigators will have different ideas than pure academics.” (Miller doesn't try to conceal the fact that he thinks real world experience is more important.)

                                                                        -posted by brian


“Not a comic book”