This semester I am taking a class called Pre-Trial Practice. It's essentially a mock-trial process, only it is the period prior to the trial as opposed to during the trial. From what I have learned in my part time job as well as what every professor has ever told me, the time prior to trial is really the most important part of the legal process in this country. For example, some incredibly small percentage like 5% of cases in the Federal court system actually go to trial. In telling my friend Fitz about this class, a guy who works as a legal assistant doing much of this "pre-trial" practice every day, we remarked on how ironic it is that such a class as this would only be offered to 3rd or 2nd year law students, when arguably this is one of the most essential aspects of what a lawyer does on a day to day basis.
Fitz further said that from his experience, law school does not teach you a thing that you need to know for practice as a lawyer. My attitude is somewhat more reserved than that, though I am tempted to agree with Fitz. A lawyer I worked with this summer said that, "When you graduate from law school and pass the bar, you are not a lawyer. You are a lawyer in training." I actually told the career services dean at the law school that and he heartily agreed saying, "Yes, you are like medical interns at that point who are not really doctors until the residency is over."
In the last year of law school I find myself having strange thoughts about what I actually learned in law school. My mom said something to me the other day about what I am, "learning," but the reality is that a lot of the time it feels less like an education and more like a hazing ritual. If you survive you get into the club, if you don't...well then you better look for another job.
For now I come to the conclusion that I try to learn as much as I can, but frequently what you actually learn from school or a job has a lot less to do with the text books and the tests, than with figuring out who you are and what you want to do.