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Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/260

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The study of constitutional law, constitutional history, medical jurisprudence, and criminal law is conducted entirely by lectures. Each course is entirely optional, and need not be taken by candidates for the degree of LL.B.

The manner of teaching law at Columbia, as is apparent from the summary of the work just given, is conducted by lectures and the study of text-books. It has been said that the study of cases is disregarded. But this is not strictly true. It is true that the text-books are treatises, and not selected cases, as is the method at Harvard. But, nevertheless, in the course of the lectures leading cases are pointed out to the student, with which he is expected to acquaint himself, and in this way much that seems ambiguous from a text-book is cleared up.

But a most important means of instruction are the lectures. These occupy about one hour and three-quarters each day, and attendance on them is compulsory. They are not, strictly speaking, what are popularly known as lectures. Prof. Dwight’s method, which is followed by Prof. Lee and Prof. Chase, is what might be called a Socratic method; Prof. Dwight is a perfect dialectician, and his custom is to ask each student in succession questions on the text. He delights in nothing so much as an erroneous answer, not for the sake of snubbing the student, but because it gives him an opportunity to elucidate the law more clearly. By a series of artful questions he makes the student see the absurdity of his position, so that at last, after a considerable discussion, he is very ready to change his opinion.

At Columbia, too, as at Harvard, Moot Courts are held, and Law Clubs are encouraged. Many students, however, are in law offices, so that not so much attention can be given to the latter.

One of the most useful branches of the school are the “Quizes.” Of these there are two, the Junior Quiz and the Senior Quiz. From each class, as it graduates, a prize-tutor is chosen, who is appointed for three years. It is the business of these tutors to conduct the “quizes,” and the quiz consists in a review of the work of the school just gone over. The tutor takes the position of the professor, and conducts his quiz in the same manner as the professor conducts his lectures, except that, as his purpose is to review rather than to demonstrate, his treatment of the subject is much more general. The quiz is one of the most useful branches of the school, and the attendance at the quiz well demonstrates this fact.

Of course the course at Columbia, as it attempts to cover in two years what Harvard does in three, is not so thorough. But the number of students who successfully pass the examination for admission to the New York bar, and the high grade they take in comparison with the graduates of other schools, and other applicants for admission to the bar, show that the school in its two years does all that can be expected in that limited period.