Justice Scalia: Don’t waste your time taking “frill courses”

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. When asked about the single best piece of advice he would give to law school students, he advised them not to waste their time taking “frill courses.” He continued:

“The only time you’re going to have an opportunity to study a whole area of the law systematically is in law school,” Scalia said. “You should not waste that opportunity. Take the bread and butter courses. Do not take, `law and women,’ do not take `law and poverty,’ do not take `law and anything,'” he said.

Scalia also went on to say that he regards himself as “an originalist,” meaning he decides cases by looking to the original meaning of the Constitution. He said he deplores the popular notion that the Constitution is a living thing that should be interpreted by judges to meet society’s changing needs.

With all due respect, I disagree. Americans are not immune to the changes of society. Given how specialized the practice of law has become, there is definitely value in taking some focused courses and learning about a specific area of law.

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One thought on “Justice Scalia: Don’t waste your time taking “frill courses”

  1. I agree with this advice. Take hard courses that will be on the bar exam. Evidence, Sales, Commercial Paper, Tax, Corporations, etc. If you have to take a “frills” course, take Copyright or IP law.

    Another piece of advice is to get a good study strategy and stick with it. “How to Win at Law School” is a good book that I recently read. There are many others. Also, if you are not yet in law school, ask yourself is that is what you really want to do. The jobs are not as plentiful as many expect.

    Good luck to you.

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