The second year begins with Hart and Ford moving to an off-campus apartment, while Bell is still at the dorm as the advisor for the 1-L students. Some of the 1-L students hound Hart for his Contracts outline, until Ford and Bell auction it off (against Hart's wishes). Meanwhile, 1-L Connie Lehman shows a personal interest in Hart ... or is it only his outline?
Hart and the others want to do something special to mark Professor Kingsfield's 80th birthday, against the advice of Mrs. Nottingham and Kinsgfield himself. Meanwhile, why is the U.S. Attorney General paying a midnight visit to Kingsfield?
A female 1-L student struggles to keep up in class while raising a small child alone. Her attempts to persuade the University to establish a day care center appear fruitless. Meanwhile, Ford is assigned to represent a senior citizen battling an unreasonable landlord.
The annual influx of law firm recruiters invades the campus, and Ford's father seems to be leading the charge. Ford Senior's tactics cause Junior to re-evaluate his opinion of his father, and whether he wants to work for the firm. At the end, Kingsfield and Nottingham are glad when the "manta rays" depart.
As usual, the Law Review is behind schedule, but this time Golden is sidelined with pneumonia. Second-in-command Shaw seizes the opportunity for a power play, but it predictably backfires. Law Review activities are further complicated when, while their new computer is being installed and tested, a power failure threatens their precious deadline - until they enlist the help of the 'Wonks'.
After a 6 month hiatus following episode 7, The Paper Chase is back with some major changes. Three new female regular characters are added, and Connie Lehman is written out of the series. ... Hart and Connie's relationship has progressed to the point where Hart considers marriage. Before Connie can sort this out, she receives a Rhodes Scholarship, and must choose between going to Europe or staying with Hart. Elsewhere, a new female 1-L moves into the dorm and becomes buddies with Bell, although he would like it to be more than that.
The hapless Willis Bell takes a spill on his bicycle and breaks an arm, then he sues the city, alleging negligence in street maintenance. He reluctantly subpoenas Kingsfield, who saw the accident. All of Bell's dorm mates pull for him -- all except Soloway, his personal "doubting Thomas".
Hart convinced the all-work/no-play Golden to think about something besides the Law Review, and join him for a beer at Ernie's. Golden and Hart meet Kathleen and Iris, and soon Golden and Kathleen hit it off, despite the fact that his rap consists of spouting off his Law Review responsibilities. She's looking for a future husband, and realizes Golden will only ever be married to his work.
The Law Review and the Wonks (computer science students) are battling over computer time. Someone gets the bright idea to challenge the computer to prepare a case note faster than a law student, with the loser giving up their computer time. Guess who lost? Eventually, Kingsfield has to come to the rescue and challenge the computer to a thinking contest, in order to regain the Law Review's access.
A distinguished and popular professor of trial law is afflicted with "senility." No one has noticed this except his students, perhaps because his symptoms are worse under the pressure of a lecture situation. Many of the students are frustrated and want to petition to have him replaced as they feel his performance compromises their education. Ford, having witnessed the problem in his own grandfather and enduring his devastation at being removed from the family's firm, has sympathy and wants to find a kinder way to resolve the problem. He goes to Kingsfield for help who...
Hart goes home to Minnesota for his sister Vicky's wedding, even though he has extra work due to Kingsfield. Since Golden has assigned Harriman to cover for Hart, Hart spends a lot of time on the phone with Harriman, and not so much time visiting with his family. Although his parents can see this is due to Hart's responsibilities, his younger sister views it as Hart's lack of interest in being with his family. When Kingsfield telephones the Hart's residence, Mrs. Hart answers, and goes on and on about "her Jimmy", much to Hart's embarrassment. ....(Continuity alert: ...
Four professors are up for 2 tenured positions, with various faculty members each jockeying for "their man". Professor Peterson is young, hip, and well-liked by the 3-L students (including Golden), but he lacks the necessary publishing credits. Golden offers to help by publishing Peterson's article in the Law Review, but his submission is not up to the usual standards, even after a re-write.
A snowstorm strands Kingsfield on his way to the airport. When he knocks on the nearest door to use the phone, it is Hart's apartment. When they learn the airport is closed, Kingsfield stays for dinner and conversation. Across town, Mrs. Nottingham steps into Ernie's Tavern, seeking shelter while waiting for the bus. Ford and Bell invite her to their table, and the three of them spend the evening consuming brandy.
Hart and Harriman are locking horns (again), this time as opponents in the Moot Court finals. Others are cashing in on their rivalry. Bell is taking bets on the winner, and Golden is happy because Hart and Harriman are eager to correct each others' papers, hoping to find errors. Professor Reese teaches a non-traditional class (much to Kingsfield's dismay, naturally), but when Hart and Harriman both benefit from the class, Kingsfield has a change of heart.
Lynn Swann guest stars as an ex-NFL player who's now a 1-L student. (The secondary opening credits are accompanied by highlights of Pittsburgh Steelers games of the 1970s.) Pierce struggles to grasp the Law School pace, especially since the mid-term exam is coming up. Many of the 1-L students ace Kingsfield's exam. Coincidentally, Nottingham finds that a test has been stolen from her files. Several students are suspected, including Willis Bell.