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10 Things that Your Professors Wish You Knew

Gordon Silver Professor of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

10. If we’ve been teaching for more than a few years, we will recognize you (even if our brains don’t let us remember your name instantly), but if you’re not in one of our current courses, we may not remember what year you are or whether you’re a student or an alumnus.

9. When we prepare for class (especially if we’ve taught it before), we may forget some details of the cases that you’re reading for the class session. We know why we want you to read it, and we know what we want you to get out of it, but you may actually know more of the facts that we’re remembering. (We’ll catch up, though, because we know where in the case to look.)

8. We’re happy to help you work through something that’s difficult (if everything in law school were easy, you wouldn’t need us), but we prefer to help you when we believe that you’ve tried to figure it out for yourself first.

7. If you’re writing a paper or drafting a document for our course, and you take the time to proofread and write well, we’ll remember that when it’s time for letters of recommendations.

6. We write better letters of recommendations when we get to know you outside of class. Come to our office hours sometimes.

5. Asking “do we need to know this for the exam?” can give each of us a nervous tic.

4. Whenever we ask a question in class, we know that there’s a risk that the answer will throw us for a loop, because it’s not at all what we expected. That’s part of the fun when we teach. It’s like walking a tightwire.*

3. We read “Above the Law” too, and we hope never to find ourselves in it.

2. We love teaching in law schools, but not all of us enjoyed being students in law school. We feel your pain.

1. If you can see us in class, we can see you right back.

* Professor Jessica Gabel of Florida State and I went to “circus school” for an hour and a half this year. We’ve been on a tightwire. It’s not a rope.

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