For the uninitiated: cold calls are a fact of the law student life. It’s a tool of law professors who subscribe to the Socratic method. The idea is this: professors ask questions of one student, follow up, change the facts, or push back, all in an effort to help develop the critical thinking skills of aspiring lawyers. When you get cold called, that means the professor has chosen you, without advance warning, to engage in such an exercise.
Professors often stress that cold calls are not intended to be intimidating or stressful. Indeed, some professors are very kind about cold calling. They do not hide the ball, but give hints or encourage students to draw on their intuition, rather than try to get to one correct answer. I’ve also seen professors use a modified system—panels—where a group of students are put on notice that they may be called in a given class. This helps alleviate the stress of not knowing when you will be called on. [Read more…] about How to Deal with a “Bad” Cold Call