Prawfsblawg posts Are you now or have you ever been a member of a debate team? It is a call for participation by law professors in a worthwhile project. (For that reason, this post incorporates almost the entirety of the linked post. I’m sure Prawfsblawg won’t mind if it helps get the word out, but I’ll feel less guilty about it if you click the link to the Prawfsblawg post.)
Jim Speta , a law professor at Northwestern, is trying to identify law professors who debated in high school or college. He’s seeking to make the case that debate provides skills and interest that lead students to consider law school, in order to support the expansion of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, which has been bringing debate back to urban high schools.
Professor Speta can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.When I was a debater in high school, I already had the U.S. Naval Academy and at least a 5-year military commitment firmly in my sights. I was virtually the only competitor I knew — not just from my school, but from any school — that didn’t want to become a lawyer. I wasn’t anti-law. I was just headed in another direction.Whether my debating colleagues were already interested in law and joined the debate team to gain lawyering skills or gained their interest in the law through their debating experiences, I couldn’t tell you. Probably a little of both.But the answer to this “chicken or the egg” question doesn’t matter. Whether the renewal of debate programs will foster an interest in the law or only draw students already interested in it, the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues seems like a good idea to me. Students learn a great deal from debate and other forms of public speaking.