April 26, 2011

'Therapy-Dog' Sessions For Yale's Liberal Law Students

By David Paulin

A "therapy dog" named "Monty" will be offered next week to students at Yale Law School, part of a pilot program to help them relieve their "stress." All of which raises a question: What kinds of horrific stress do students suffer at Yale Law School, a place noted for its touchy-feely legal education and its overwhelmingly liberal students and faculty?

Indeed, Yale Law School has for decades been an Ivy League school offering a kinder and gentler education -- a response to student unrest and demands in the 1960s. Yale Law School was definitely not the high-pressure school portrayed in the movie "The Paper Chase;" that was Harvard Law School.

Unlike other law schools, Yale does not do mean, stressful things like officially "ranking" its students. Nor does it offer traditional grades; instead, first-semester students get credit or no-credit. And during the remaining two-and-a-half years, students are graded on a system that gives them marks such as "honors," "pass," "low pass," and "fail." Students take only one semester of required courses, whereas most other law schools have a full year of required courses.

Yet Yale's privileged law students can expect to get just about any job they desire. Interestingly (though perhaps not surprisingly), a relatively large number of Yale law grads go on to teach or work for the government. Only 49 percent become honest-to-goodness lawyers who really practice law.

So perhaps it's no surprise that Yale's law students are now getting therapy-dog sessions to help them get through the day.

Curiously, news of Yale Law School's therapy-dog program has not been well publicized, according to an article in The New York Times. "I'm surprised to hear of it," law professor John Witt was quoted as saying. "I've always found library books to be therapeutic. But maybe that's just me."

Spoken like a true academic.

Originally published at The American Thinker.

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