SMU's Teaching Pedagogy
Well, one of the things most people don't understand is that lawyers do research in a different way from most of the other subjects. The sort of research I do doesn't involve anybody paying me to do it, it's basically a question of sitting with lots of books and reading them and fitting together the material. And that is probably what sixty or seventy percent of the faculty are doing what sometimes called black letter law that is basically trying to find ways of stating the law more perceptively and accurately. And there it's simply a question of people identifying some area which they are particularly interested in or attracted to and getting on with writing about it. So and as it happens, the vast majority of faculty are productively engaged in writing of this kind, particularly on, we don't have anybody on the tenure track who isn't regularly publishing.
There are people, let us suppose that you're doing work in let's just say criminology that involves trying to work out why people behave in this way and in what ways punishing them would make them behave differently. And that is, typically the work there is much more like working done in social science, it does involve empirical investigation and what actually happens. And we have people doing work like that.
Well, we thought that there were a significant number of people who wanted to study law who already had degrees. And of course there are countries where it's normal only to study law when you've, after you've studied something else. So in the United States, the exclusive path now is to do a four-year college degree and then do a three-year law degree. And what is different about our arrangement is that we have the two side by side and we haven't chosen to put one over the other.
And experience certainly shows that there are a significant number of people who would welcome the chance to do this and because they've already got a degree, we felt able to delete from the law degree a substantial element which is non-law. I mean the law degree is sort of seventy percent law and thirty percent non-law. For people who've already got a degree they would just be doing the seventy percent. It appears that you can certainly do it in two-and-a-half years and if you make extensive use of Terms 3A and 3B you may be able to do it in two years but you have to work very hard to do that. We charge them the same fee however long they take, so it doesn't, there's no pressure on them to do it in a particular time.