Sometimes, I imagine law students, law school and the lure of high grades akin to throwing a bunch of hungry, ugly-cute baby sharks into a small tank with a juicy piece of red meat.
Besides being fiercely competitive over-achievers, these Type-A sharkies have been told their survival in the law school tank depends on them being able to get those yummy ‘As’ and ‘Bs’.
Which is why it came as no surprise when we wrote a couple weeks ago that the Syracuse University College of Law would be taking measures to flush out cheaters who used their bathroom breaks to cheat on exams.
It is also no surprise that the National Law Journal recently reported that students are seeing more gray areas between honesty and dishonesty, and are using technology and changes in testing administration to get ahead.
What is surprising, to me at least, is that law students still see cheating as a viable option.
We’ve all been told since kindergarten that “cheaters never win, and winners never cheat,” and that “the only person you cheat when you try to cheat is yourself.” Call me square and naive, but I think both quotes are true, especially in law school exams.
Yes, law schools use exams to gauge how you fare against your classmates. But students should also take advantage of exams as an opportunity to reflect on material learned and possibly predict how well they’d do on the bar exam.
If you cheat in law school, you may be able to stay afloat and keep swimming. But when you get into the bigger ocean out there, you’ll be eaten alive if you fail to know your stuff.