Patently Obvious was kind enough to blog a Pittsblog post of mine from last May, a post that I repeat here:
A lot of my incoming patent law students have undergraduate transcripts that contain four (or more) years of coursework in science and/or engineeering–and nothing but science or engineering. No history, philosophy, art, literature, psychology. Not even economics. Occasionally, an undergraduate engineer who is looking toward law school asks me: What should I do to prepare for law school? I have two standard responses: One is: run, don’t walk, away from “law school prep courses.” (How to read cases, outline courses, take exams.) They’re worse than useless. They’re useless and expensive. Two is: Read Shakespeare. Or if not Shakespeare, then read Melville. Dickinson. Ellison. Baldwin. Morrison. Borges. Milosz. Pick a major literary figure–any gender, any genre, any era–and read that person’s works. Be literate, in every sense of that word.
I agree, but the opposite is true as well. Typical intellectuals and academics almost never take business or science courses– it’s a problem i’ve observed in the publishing industry: you have Engish majors who can’t add and business people who can’t spell.
My experience has been that people actually take pride in shunning classes outside their chosen sphere. I knew English majors who felt that if they improved their math skills it would make them poorer English majors, and math majors who felt that reading literature would interfere with their ability to solve problems. It’s a ridiculous attitude, but it’s out there.
Personally, I believe that well-rounded lawyers are better able to represent their clients, as well as being better able to develop business.