It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Today's BarBri class, I mean. The high was that we finished up the section on New York Practice. This is the closest I've come in law school to "how to sue people" material. It was basically about how the civil law process works in New York State, and, along with the New York distinctions material from last week's Criminal Procedure section, was one of what I like to call the "Law and Order" courses. (Meaning "courses that I tell myself I am studying for when I watch 'Law and Order'"…)
(Which reminds me - has there ever been a Law and Order where the legal complication plot point deals with transactional immunity stemming from testimony given before a grand jury? None comes to mind, which seems sort of surprising. Seems like it could be an interesting area to explore.)
Anyway, the professor doing the lecture, Professor Alexander, was quite palatable to listen to. Like the first professor we had who did criminal law, he taught us at a good pace, making sure we could take down the important things, and he generally made a lot of boring material go down relatively easily. Then, after he was done, he serenaded us by singing a song about the New York CPLR (the source of the law we'd just learned), accompanied by banjo. It was very entertaining.
Then a real life human being from BarBri came into our class to give us a personal pep talk. This is significant, not just because the pep talk helps a lot, but because most of our instruction is by video, so it's nice to get the more personal attention from time to time.
Then it was on to begin a section on NY essay writing. And this is where the low began. The whole thing was an enormous waste of time. I mean, yeah, there were a couple of good things in it - maybe some real diamonds in the rough - but there was an awful lot of rough (and very few diamonds). Annoyingly the lecture didn't really conform to the outline we were given, but that was the least of the problems. The bigger problems were that the lecturer was almost entirely humorless - in fact he came off as mean! - and managed to achieve the apparent paradox of being all of boring, terrifying, and condescending. Even if he'd been a good lecturer the material could have still better been covered with a 15-20 minute talk coupled with a few outlines. Instead he droned on and on, dropping on us all sorts of terms that we haven't gotten anywhere near yet - which was intimidating yet also completely pointless. Plus it was of little constructive use for him to have meticulously listed them twice. Or so thoroughly. There was one point where he was trying to list different legal statuses, not just as the status itself but also its opposite. I'm not sure, however, that we needed each one spelled out so specifically. I mean, for most of them we could probably tell that the opposite was the exact same word but prefixed by "non"… And I also don't think he needed to tell us that legal rights/duties/liabilities/duties might also vary depending on whether the party in question is alive or dead. I think if at this point in our legal education we could not infer that, there's not going to be a whole lot that BarBri can do for us to help us pass this test…
Anyway, while it was very nice for the guy to give us his home phone number so we could call to ask questions, the rest of the presentation was so dismal it pretty much undid all the warm fuzzy feelings that the banjo guy had left us with.