[LETTERS to the editor]Law school jitters
Traditionally, law students start college with the pressure of passing sasi, the bar exam, as early as possible. Naturally, these students go to private institutes, usually in Shinlim-Dong, to cram on the immense amount of material to be covered. Students usually take time off from school in order to have enough time to digest the material. Thus, law students rarely commit time to extracurricular activities such as sports, arts or volunteer work. They are not able to develop foreign-language skills. It is a shame that law school students lack dimension, but they just don’t have the time to become involved or learn anything other than the material for the bar exam.
However, the new law school system requires student candidates to satisfy criteria for undergraduate GPA, LEET score, official English score, volunteer experience and other activities. Among these, English scores highlight the weak point of current law school students. A typical student would be satisfied with a Toeic score of over 700, which is the minimum requirement for taking the bar exam. Nowadays, students are trying to improve their language skills to meet the high standards of admission to prestigious law schools.
Changes are already happening around campus to respond to the new needs. As a student at Yonsei University, I have noticed the increased number of new professors who have had experience in legal practice. In addition, many new subjects outside the traditional bar exam are being introduced, such as marketing law, North Korean law, international economic law and international finance law. Some of these subjects are taught in English.
It is obvious that the two ways of becoming a lawyer are very different. As a law student, I also feel burdened. To add to the burden, the sasi will be phased out by 2010.
It is an important task to improve the system to produce competitive lawyers. I cannot say which method is more effective. However, if change is going to happen, then there needs to be more consideration of the people who would be most affected. The government passed the Law School Act only last year, but admission to law schools is already opening for next year. Panic among schools and students surely seems to have been predictable. Considering all this, the law school debate should not just be about tuition, the number of schools or the number of students. It should also be about the students who are caught in the mist. Students’ voices must be heard.
Cho Min-kyung, student, Yonsei University
Democrats in Korea to meet
On Sunday, April 27, Democrats Abroad, Korea branch will have an official organizational meeting and buffet brunch at The Big Rock Brewery in Gangnam, Seoul. Brunch starts around 1:30 p.m. A meeting will follow at around 3 p.m.
We will be adopting the initial bylaws of Democrats Abroad South Korea and electing a chairperson and other officers. Shortly after the elections we will form committees and begin to plan our actions. You can also register to vote on the spot.
A local DA Korea member was recently quoted in USA Today:
“It has been a veritable treasure-trove of exciting news every step of the way,” says Krista Grimmett, 41, a civilian employee of the Defense Department at Osan Air Base in South Korea. “We are Americans living abroad, and we are following this election with a tenacity usually reserved only for the Final Four during March Madness.”
For info and answers about DA Korea, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions to the meeting place and to become a member, visit the Web site, democratsabroad.org
Scott Liam Soper, organizer, Democrats Abroad Seoul