“If I am for myself alone….”

by ursavoice

Professor Henry Weinstein

Professor Henry Weinstein made the following comments in his Lawyering Skills class on February 1 after thanking his students for most of the comments they made—both favorable and unfavorable—on anonymous course evaluations they submitted.

One of the evaluations suggested that the way this course is run devalues research skills. The implication of the comment was that the professors should not be providing a full list of cases after students hand in their research logs. Let me be clear about something: the purposeof this course is not to have a certain select group of students, who start out with more skill, stay ahead of everyone else for their own advancement. The purpose of this course is to help you all learn to master the material. Consider the following: if some students do not do well in this class because the professors do not do all that they can to help those students, it does not just hurt those students. It means that those students will not go out to internships or externships or summer jobs as well prepared as they ought to be, which makes it likely that they will not perform well in those jobs. Not only does this harm that student, it harms the reputation of the school and it lowers the value of a law degree from UCI  Law, which hurts every student. The Hebrew prophet Hillel offered some profound wisdom on this subject years ago. He said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me. But if I am for myself alone, of what good am I?” Try to keep that in mind—at least in this class.