It wouldn’t surprise anybody if most law students come into their first year dreading the specter of a cold call in a contracts lecture. That imagery of the Socratic method is seared into the history of the legal profession and the schoolwork that prepares us for that profession. But times change. And as the world changes, so does the legal profession (albeit at a much slower pace). Your professor who has been teaching contracts for 1,000 years may be an expert in the development of the common law of the statute of frauds. But will she know whether a text message counts as a “signed writing” in small-claims court in the city where you live for the purpose of overcoming the statute of frauds? That’s not quite as likely.
The best way for you to learn how to really be a lawyer in the 21st century is to do the job before you actually have the job. You can do this by taking a class with a practical or hands-on component. Here are a few reasons why hands-on classes like clinics, practicums, externships, etc. should definitely be on your list for next year.