Liberty, Technology, Duty: Where Peace Overlaps War

A lot of my incoming patent law students have undergraduate transcripts that contain four (or more) years of coursework in science and/or engineeering--and nothing but science or engineering. No history, philosophy, art, literature, psychology. Not even economics. Occasionally, an undergraduate engineer who is looking toward law school asks me: What should I do to prepare for law school? I have two standard responses: One is: run, don't walk, away from "law school prep courses." (How to read cases, outline courses, take exams.) They're worse than useless. They're useless and expensive. Two is: Read Shakespeare. Or if not Shakespeare, then read Melville. Dickinson. Ellison. Baldwin. Morrison. Borges. Milosz. Pick a major literary figure--any gender, any genre, any era--and read that person's works. Be literate, in every sense of that word.

Why does that matter? Lots of reasons. Here's one.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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