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William C. Altreuter
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

To Wooster College over the weekend, where my BuffState students competed in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association's tournament, and I sat as a judge. Until I started working with BuffState students on moot court I'd never heard of Wooster College, but come to find out it is a pretty fancy school, and a beautiful campus.

I have some issues with undergraduate law competitions, but as between mock trials and appellate advocacy programs I favor the later-- the skills the students acquire in a moot court setting are more in the nature of critical reading and analysis, and there are not many undergraduate activities that involve engaging in high-level abstract discussions. I wish there were some that did not involve encouraging students to go to law school, but we take the world as we find it. I judged three rounds on Friday, and felt as though the students I worked with this semester compared very favorably to five of the six teams I saw. The sixth team, from the University of Central Florida, would have been the best advocates in the room on any given day at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. As it happens I was on a panel with the retired director of the legal clinic at the University of Akron School of Law. Akron is a better regarded school than I would have guessed, what with it being in Ohio, and in Akron, but even so it seemed pretty inappropriate to me when this guy gave a recruiting pitch to the two guys that were so good. Horribly, he gave passionate voice to the canard that a law degree is versatile. Akron is reasonably affordable-- less than UB for in-state residents-- but the fact remains that a JD is the opposite of versatile-- it confers the ability to sit for the bar, but the only JD required occupation that exists is Lawyer.

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