Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: Chris Laurel on January 05, 2006, 04:13:52 PM

Title: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 05, 2006, 04:13:52 PM
It's the big myth of law schools.  It creates unnecessary consternation.  I did not have one professor use the socratic method in my law school.  The only one who thought he was doing it was my Property professor.

But it wasn't socratic, it was a reading quiz.  He called on people alphabetically, so you knew when your turn was coming up.  Then he'd quiz you with things like, "And what did the Appellate Court say?" and "and what did the Defendant want?"  That would go on for 20 minutes while many other people just surfed the Internet or suffered through the facts of the case. 

Then he'd end with "And what did you think."  By that point, nobody thought anything, we were so numb with boredom.  There was none of that rip and rumble, everybody on the edge of their seats you imagine.  I purposely did not hook up my wireless my first year, or I would have been Googling the cases to learn something about them.

This is just one problem with law school.  For those looking forward to the challenge of the socratic method, you will be disappointed.  But this is not the main problem.  The main problem is here:

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html

DEMAND MORE TESTS!  DEMAND TEACHING ASSISTANTS!
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Budlaw on January 05, 2006, 06:24:07 PM
You and your blog seem a bit angry with life. It's allright, life will be over when you least expect it and then you won't even know what you missed.




It's the big lie of law schools.  It creates unnecessary consternation.  I did not have one professor use the socratic method in my law school.  The only one who thought he was doing it was my Property professor.

But it wasn't socratic, it was a reading quiz.  He called on people alphabetically, so you knew when your turn was coming up.  Then he'd quiz you with things like, "And what did the Appellate Court say?" and "and what did the Defendant want?"  That would go on for 20 minutes while many other people just surfed the Internet or suffered through the facts of the case. 

Then he'd end with "And what did you think."  By that point, nobody thought anything, we were so numb with boredom.  There was none of that rip and rumble, everybody on the edge of their seats you imagine.  I purposely did not hook up my wireless my first year, or I would have been Googling the cases to learn something about them.

This is just one problem with law school.  For those looking forward to the challenge of the socratic method, you will be disappointed.  But this is not the main problem.  The main problem is here:

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html

DEMAND MORE TESTS!  DEMAND TEACHING ASSISTANTS!
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 05, 2006, 07:08:22 PM
The way we are going, you are right, things will be over for a lot of people.  I'm not angry with life, I'm angry with how unprepared we are for everything that hits us.  I'm angry with our ruling political class.  I'm angry it never changes.  I am not alone.

You address my anger but not one issue.  Between us who is focusing on what matters?

Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Budlaw on January 05, 2006, 08:12:59 PM
The way we are going, you are right, things will be over for a lot of people.  I'm not angry with life, I'm angry with how unprepared we are for everything that hits us.  I'm angry with our ruling political class.  I'm angry it never changes.  I am not alone.

You address my anger but not one issue.  Between us who is focusing on what matters?



I would hardly call what you and your blog "do" as focusing on what matters. Your thinly veiled rantings on flaws within law school do little to mask your scorn and distaste for the Republican party.

My question for you is what exactly are YOU doing to correct your perceived problems with America besides posting rants on a discussion board and using that board to "pimp" your little viewed blog site?

One may speak about problems all they want, but it takes more than just words to make real changes within our country. That is the problem with you and the Democratic party as a whole, you're all talk but no bite. You're using the same strategy that John Kerry and the rest of the Democratic pundits used last year. And what did it get them?

Four more years of W.

Good luck with your blog, because I doubt you'll make any real change with it.   
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lipper on January 05, 2006, 09:23:04 PM
Political argument aside (although W. is a bastard, and maybe the democratic party has no bite, but the bite the republicans had was smeared with lies and fear) -

Mr. Laurel, u say we are unprepared for everything that hits us, perhaps you are missing the point of law school. It is not to teach us the nuts and bolts of lawyering, like how to prepare an affidavit, jury instructions, or even the correct form to a motion. Rather, the sole purpose is to teach the foreign concept of thinking like a lawyer.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 05, 2006, 09:28:19 PM
Once more, not one issue debated.  You also ignore that I am here advocating a solution to at least one major problem, the flawed law school grading system.  Do you even listen to people you consider your adversaries, or are you so wound up with ideology you can only spout shop-warn accusations that ring hollow.  Conservatives and liberals are against Bush.  Only reactionaries are not.

Nothing but personal attacks.  Student loan cuts?  Medicare cuts?  Houston's murder rate spikes 70% with evacuees?  We are unprepared for Avian flu, or whatever the next mutation will be.  California unprepared for tsunamis.  Hurricane season in for increased 30 year cycle.  No end to war in Iraq.  Bush's eggs were all in Ariel Sharon's basket, and now he is gone.  We have no resolution for poverty even under consideration. 

When a terrorist next strikes, do any of us believe our own cities could not become New Orleans?  I hope not. 

But I know one thing: focusing on me, attacking me, instead of attacking my ideas, saying why they are wrong or why they are not concerns, doesn't make you look smart, well-taught, or particularly knowledgable.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 05, 2006, 09:34:50 PM
Political argument aside (although W. is a bastard, and maybe the democratic party has no bite, but the bite the republicans had was smeared with lies and fear) -

Mr. Laurel, u say we are unprepared for everything that hits us, perhaps you are missing the point of law school. It is not to teach us the nuts and bolts of lawyering, like how to prepare an affidavit, jury instructions, or even the correct form to a motion. Rather, the sole purpose is to teach the foreign concept of thinking like a lawyer.


I say "we as a society" are unprepared for everything that hits us.  Full stop.  Then I say that the one exam per course method of measuring a student's abilities is illogical and hoplessly inaccurate.  Why don't we talk about grades?  In undergrad we did ("I stayed out too late and got a B- on that history test, so I made an A-.")  We don't talk about them because they are subjective.  Unfair.  Inaccurate.  Used to typing and your hand cramps?  Some schools still make you write for 3/4 hours.  How is that fair? 

Heaven help you if you catch a cold just when your body is the most stressed, because there goes your whole grade.  TKO.  Game over. 

We have virtually no ability to see red flags and problems early enough.  I also argue that forcing 100 students on a professor who has no use of teaching assistants is unheard of in other graduates schools.  Every person involved is under this needless pressure. 

It is such a simple fix, yet we do not fix it.  Like our society does not fix levees, prepare for flu outbreaks, tsunamis, etc. 

So why does the community known for fixing things not do what it takes to fix problems like this:

Despite '93 Report, Substance Abuse Persists at Law Schools
http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1056139906692
Thomas Adcock
New York Law Journal
06-30-2003


Ten years after U.S. law schools received a startling white paper on alcohol and drug abuse among students and faculty, Robert A. Stein of the American Bar Association sees no firm evidence of improved sobriety.

Last week, he told as much to a northeastern regional gathering of campus administrators held at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Or this:

NOTRE DAME MAGAZINE
http://www.nd.edu/~ndmag/legl2f99.htm

Lawyers may or may not be among the most unethical professionals in America. But there is little doubt that they are among the most unhealthy and unhappy.

Lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates. For example, researchers affiliated with Johns Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder (AMDD@) in only three of 104 occupations: lawyers, pre-kindergarten and special education teachers, and secretaries. Lawyers topped the list, suffering from MDD at a rate 3.6 times higher than nonlawyers who shared their key socio-demographic traits.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lipper on January 06, 2006, 12:04:41 AM
generally, i agree with what you are saying.

but geeze dude, get a life. you have too much free time on your hands.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lincolnsgrandson on January 06, 2006, 06:57:08 AM
op - not everybody attends the same crappy school you do with professors that cannot teach.  Or maybe not everybody is just a whiny b-tch like you, and we realize that we are responsible for our own success.  Have a great future blaming everybody elses. 
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 06, 2006, 12:00:05 PM
Since none of you know anything about me, you have to grasp at straws to personally attack me. 

I am arguing not to make things easier.  I am arguing for more exams, teaching assistants to help professors impart knowledge.  And I'd like to see the socratic method brought back to life.  This isn't whining or laziness, it's a fix to a broken system.

Once more, they don't debate ideas, only personal attacks - this is why nothing gets changed, folks.  Instead of discussing the merits of testing students more (my solution) and giving professors teaching assistants (my solution) instead you are treated to vitriol about how I spend my time and the type of school I "might" go to (it's a top 20).

And you wonder why levees don't get fixed?  You wonder why we aren't prepared?  Because people like the previous two gentlemen run the country.  Democrats, Republicans, they don't discuss ideas, they just attack the person trying to do so. 

Well, when our economy is ruined because we cut taxes on the wealthy in the midst of two wars, an American city choking, and lord only knows what might come our way in the next fours years, don't blame me.  As the [Conservative] Cato Institute points out, Bush spends more than Johnson during the Vietnam War AND Great Society welfare programs.  Hell, at least he was spending some of that money on Americans!  But Bush raised taxes on the middle class - so they are the ones fighting AND paying for the war. And their kids can deal with the aftermath when our prosperity crumbles under massive personal consumer debt and national debt.

But they won't debate why George Bush isn't a conservative.  They'll attack how I spend my time. I'm sure they want me to spend it another way, because they know I have more knowledge about what is going on than they do. They aren't educated enough to debate the issues.  Haha--that's why they support Bush!

Do you all see what's happening not only nationally, but in law schools?  Instead of changing things, fixing thing, discussing ideas, they just aim to shut you up?  You can use this thread as an example of how it happens. 

(It actually takes little time when you know what to look for)
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lincolnsgrandson on January 06, 2006, 12:23:42 PM
But we do know about you, Chris.  Your whiny b-tch rants say much more about you than they do about law school. 
You take responsibility for none of your own actions.  You are spoiled. 
At least once in high school and college, you got a got a bad grade because the "teacher hated" you.  You had couldn't get a girlfriend because "girls don't like nice guys." 
You've never had a job, at least one that required genuine responsibility.  You lived in a dorm in college, which was paid for by money that came from someone else's hard work.  And you sit around a lot bullsh-tting with people. 

You think you have all the answers, but you wouldn't even consider that some of them are just crap (teaching assistants?  Who cares?) .  Besides, who takes a whiny b-tch seriously?

The practice of law is tough, Chris.  Nobody's going to hold your anymore.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 06, 2006, 03:22:27 PM
My God, you *do* know me! 

See everybody - more personal attacks, but not one idea, not one issue, debated.  "Who cares?"  Probably professors would make great use of teaching assistants.  If teaching assistants held comprehensive reviews of the courses before finals, I think all of us would be grateful and care.  To those who want to pursue academia, I think the opportunity to work closely with a professor, grading exams (which can be disputed with the professor) under his or her close supervision, would be great for them (and us).

Students would have an extra brain to approach and pick. A brain who knows what is important to the professor, and who knows the subject well.  Who can ask the professor things that he or she can not answer.

Who cares if we have teaching assistants?  You are more interested in attacking and could care less about thinking.  That's the answer to "who cares" - not you.

Like I said, it's not the brightest who get heard, it's the ballsiest.  What school does  this guy even go to that he talks the way he talks?  That he argues the way he argues?  Is he even IN law school, or just a tenth-grader who recently had a meeting with his counsellor and decided to "check it out?"  You evidence little education. 
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: jacy85 on January 06, 2006, 03:34:19 PM
Quit your bitching and go away.  No one here cares about the fact that you think law school is unfair.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 06, 2006, 03:37:40 PM
Every time you respond, I will respond to you.  I notice you have a -25 for your reputation.  That does make you a troll?

If people care that their grades and arbitrary, inaccurate or unfair, and that employers make decisions based solely on those grades - they 100% determine your job, trust me, I've been in law a long time.  Then you should care. 

And you should demand it be fixed.  It's not "bitching" just like saying "we need the levees fixed" is not bitching.  Where do you get the nerve to say those who propose solutions to obvious problems are just whining and bitching? 

No wonder we do not fix anything in this country. Especially if this last poster is right, "nobody cares."  If that's true, we better start caring, because what is going on around us, whether inaccurate grades or unfixed national problems, affect our lives.  If you don't start caring you may wish you had earlier, before it's too late.

Stakes is high, son, stakes is high.

And if you all don't know what is going on, you better learn, because professors test current issues almost exclusively.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: jacy85 on January 06, 2006, 03:40:46 PM
Posting this crap on an internet message board is hardly the way to "fix" things, as you put it.

And yes, jobs in the sweat shop firms that pay $200k a year are arbitrarily determined by grades.  But you make it sound like you will never get a job unless you graduate in the top 10% of your class.  This is BS, and you know it.  It's inflammatory, and preys on people's irrational fears.  So unless you have anything of intelligence to say (which I'm sure you don't, based on the whining I've seen here), you'd do us all a favor and leave.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 06, 2006, 03:43:41 PM
Dude, you obviously don't know, so there is no need to discuss it with you.  I'll give you the last word, because you are only looking to argue instead of discuss solutions.  People like you get a thrill from it, bizarrely. 

Here's Wikipedia's definition of what you guys are:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolling

Internet troll
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory messages on the Internet, such as on online discussion forums, to disrupt discussion or to upset its participants. "Troll" can also mean the inflammatory message itself posted by a troll or be a verb meaning to post such messages. "Trolling" (the gerund) is also commonly used to describe the activity.

It's a good entry.  It includes this gem:

The main motive for a user trolling is to disrupt the community in some way. Inflammatory, sarcastic, disruptive or humorous content is posted, meant to draw other users into engaging the troll in a fruitless confrontation. The greater the reaction from the community the more likely the user is to troll again, as the person develops beliefs that certain actions achieve his/her goal to cause chaos. This gives rise to the often repeated protocol in Internet culture: "Do not feed the trolls".
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: cuteprincess on January 10, 2006, 09:05:21 PM
What school do you go to?  Law schools use the Socratic Method.  They really do.  If your school used it, you'll feel the pain that the rest of us feel.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 11, 2006, 12:40:47 AM
I'm sorry, but I disagree.  They do not use the socratic method anymore, and not only at my New York City school.  I have friends at top schools or recent graduates.  I've worked as a senior paralegal for six years.  So I know a few things, and I am half-way through school.

They do not use socratic method, not as that term is understood:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method#Typical_Application_in_Legal_Education

I urge you all to visit that description. 

You do not have to believe me.  Profs start their classes off telling you not to expect it.  Read that defintion, and keep it in mind.  And stop worrying, because in the end there is nothing you can do about it.  But I tell you, it is the the truth:  professors do not use the socratic method anymore.

Keep in mind, the socratic method requires an entire class engaging in an active discussion.  How often does *that* happen First Year?  Rarely to never.

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lipper on January 11, 2006, 01:18:10 AM
i think you are highly misguided on what the socractic method is.

I also like your smug little comment about your "nyc" school. you're an arrogant p r i c k.

go back to iowa, nebraska, or whatever hick state ur from.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 11, 2006, 09:18:36 AM
i think you are highly misguided on what the socractic method is.


Then what you should do is click on that Wikipedia link and edit the entry yourself.  I provided a definition for what the socratic method is, you did not.  So why don't you put up and define it for us, since I (and Wikipedia) are so misguided.

Otherwise, stop trolling - you add not one thing to this discussion thread, you only called your education into question.  You are not in law school, or you would learn how to debate issues and not personal attacks.  Grow up, kid.

And if you are not a kid, grow up and learn to use your intellect. These kids who pride themselves on being able to figure out where someone is from, or what their personality is, by reading a bunch of posts makes them look so...inexperienced.  I mean, come on - lashing out at where I am supposedly from, when you have no clue?  It shows you have no ideas, just that you think you are an astute observer, and you are not.  That's the problem with the internet for people who have no original thoughts - they can only GUESS at things to attack, because God knows they can't think for themselves enough to debate solutions.

You know, if you all are in law school, or contemplating it, then right now is the time to stop looking so stupid by trolling and personally attacking people on discussion boards.  Start now discussing ideas and debating them, instead of attacking someone who tries to do so. 

This is not only necessary for intelligent discourse, but is a nation-wide problem in how we treat each other and how we learn from each other.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: jacy85 on January 11, 2006, 10:50:36 AM
wikapedia isn't a very reliable source.  My friend created a bogus legal term for civ pro, knowing that another guy in our section used wikapedia for everything.  The entire entry was a joke, and we all had a laugh when the guy was like "*&^%, when did we cover "special jurisdiction!?!"  The guy realized an hour later that it was a joke, and my friend then marked the entry for deletion.

An editor/webmaster at wikapedia decided that the entry was NOT a joke, and kept it up.  I'm not sure if it's still there, but the fact that they thought it was legit puts must of what is on wikapedia in question.

If you're going to rant and rave in an attempt to inflate your ego, at least use reliable sources to back up your crackpot theories.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 11, 2006, 02:01:47 PM
I think my writing is anything but a rant or a rave - you are using those words incorrectly.

You can attack Wikipedia, and it certainly has its flaws, but the "Fake Civ Pro" entry says more about the kind of people you and your friends are than it does about the sources I rely upon.

I do not blindly follow Wikipedia, I actually read the entries critically. 

I imagine what bothers you more is not so much my reference to Wikipedia, but that you can't debate the entry itself.  Did you even read it?  Or are you just lashing out at Wikipedia to discredit it, and only providing an anecdote that makes you and your friends look like law school jackasses than it does question the reliability of an encylopedia.

Since you are that lazy, I will post it here.  If you challenge the defintion on Wikipedia, it would be one thing.  Instead you just try and discredit the source.  More troll methods.  Grow up, and use your intelligence - it's time to stop arguing like a teenager.

In fact, what are you arguing against?  Do you have a point of view on this thread, or are you just on here to argue against Me?  I welcome it because each time a person leaves a ridiculous post that only attacks a postor he knows nothing about, it illustrates the ridiculous level of public discourse in the country.

Thank you for providing illustrations of what's wrong with Americans today - all attacks and no ideas.

Socratic Method:  [Supposedly] Typical Application in Legal Education


Socratic method is widely used in contemporary legal education by many law schools in the United States. In a typical class setting, the professor asks a question and calls on a student who may or may not have volunteered an answer. The student's answer stimulates other students to offer their own views, thus generating a wide range of opinions and exposing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

The answers usually become increasingly refined as each is built upon the previous ones. Then the professor moves on to the next question, often without authoritatively answering the first one, and so on. It is important to understand that typically there is more than one "correct" answer, and more often, no clear answer at all.  [This last sentence is true, they leave you wondering - but the dynamic discussion and refining of facts rarely, if ever happens] The primary goal of Socratic method in law schools is not to answer usually unanswerable questions, but to explore the contours of often difficult legal issues and to teach students the critical thinking skills they will need as lawyers.

The class usually ends with a quick discussion of doctrinal foundations (legal rules) to anchor the students in contemporary legal understanding of an issue. For this method to work, the students are expected to be prepared for class in advance by reading the assigned materials (case opinions, notes, law review articles, etc.) and by familiarizing themselves with the general outlines of the subject matter.


Chris Laurel (http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com)

P.S.  I've heard that "Fake Civ Pro" thing before - be original, as opposed to claiming a shop-worn law school urban legend as your own, beyotch.

"I'm not sure if it's still there" - Because it would take sooooooo long for you to check instead of telling the entire world "I am speaking about something I do not know if it is still true."  Dude - the Internets were supposed to make it easier to back yourself up.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: plumbert on January 12, 2006, 11:14:41 PM
Well, I've got a prof who not only calls us "Mr So-and-So" and picks us at random for about a ten minute grilling, but also makes us stand up the whole time. Isn't that basically Socratic?
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 14, 2006, 01:29:40 AM
Definitely.  The standing goes *way* too far; I know many people who could not handle that, and I'm surprised the Dean of your school hasn't told him to stop.  That sucks!  Additionally, it is another example of how little respect is paid to law students by professors, admin and exam proctors.  By din of our admittance to law school, we deserve respect - it is difficult to get in, and many of us are proud of our own accomplishments.  It matters not they pale in comparison to someone thirty years our senior. 

But the random calling on a student, changing and refining the facts to get them to critically think about it, encouraging other students to talk and debate.  Very little of that goes on.  I do not mean to say it never happens, but rarely. 

Yet that method of instruction is best suited to how we are tested.  Frankly, I think professors have become too lazy with teaching.  The only way they are measured is by their research and the articles they publish.  It rarely matters if a brilliant mind makes a crap teacher.  As long as the name is there, the school is happy.  As long as their research gets them tenure, the professors are happy.  The ones paying insane amounts of money are the least considered in the mix.  As long as we pay our tuition.

The ideas I propose--TAs and more tests--are meant to alleviate pressure, not to lessen work.  Testing us more better educates us - it incentivizes preparation.  If your first test is only 25% of your grade, then doing poorly is a red flag to find out what went wrong, without sacrificing your career options before you can figure out what you did wrong.  Law school exams are unique, and it is illogical our grades rest on our first "real" attempt at them.  The brightest will continue to do well.  We all know the feeling that we don't know if we really get the material at times, especially if a supplement contradicts the prof.  TAs are more approachable and can spend more time explaining the concepts.  Especially since they will not TA for other classes.

I don't want things easier, I want them more accurate.  More tests is the only way to do that.  One test, at one moment in time, is inherently flawed.  It is absolutely ridiculous in year-long courses. 

In my first year no professor held a broad, substantive review of their year-long course.  Of course, that takes preparation and time away from research.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 16, 2006, 11:01:50 PM
Look, all students deserve respect, and you deserve to demand it from your professors, from the administration, from your fellow students, from your exam proctors.

Stop pussying out - you all are paying for the education.  Once they let you into the school, demand respect, if not solely because YOU GOT IN!  You deserve it!  Demand it!  What?  You think they'll kick you out or something? 

Why do law students acts like sad slaves who must put up with how they are treated?  You people are some of the best and the brightest in the country, and yet you all act like you deserve this disrespect.  I don't get it.  When you really think about it, do you?

And demand Accuracy in Grades!  Demand more tests.  Demand TAs.

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 16, 2006, 11:32:46 PM
How do we do it?  We stand up for ourselves!

Look, the baby boomers have screwed this country up.  Our economy, our political discourse, our social security, our medical doctor residency programs, our drug laws, our social darwinisim.

The fact is, the system gets perpetuated because those who succeed at it are the ones who continue to control it.  In other words, the kids on law review have little reasons to make the system more fair "Whew!  Well, I don't have to care anymore!"  (except when they realize how miserable they will enjoy life outside of school - mark my words)  But most of us know that the best and brightest are not necessarily the ones who succeed.

Here is how to change it in the immediate future:

1.  Be informed.  Know what you are talking about, and be confident.

2.  Whenever disrespect occurs, whether in front of a class, by an exam proctor, by the registrar, you let them know that you deserve the very respect an ATT customer service representative would be expected to give you, dammit.  At the very least!

3.  If you think something is wrong, speak out about it.  Why are we all a bunch of jellyfish who take whatever we are told to take.  This is how fascism took root in Nazi Germany.  No comparison, but still - get some spines. Stop being told what is good for you.

4.  Demand reasonable working hours.  When I say reasonable, I DO NOT mean 9-5.  I mean less than 60 hours a week.  And I don't mean during tough transactions and cases, just as the norm.  Why is that nuts?  Why are we expected to shove our bodies in the meat grinder of the corporate machine?  You people only have one chance to live in the body you live in - and if you don't know how important it is, than take George Bush Sr's chief election strategist's words.  He died of brain cancer right after his greatest victory:

My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood. The '80s were about acquiring -- acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power, and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty. What power wouldn't I trade for a little more time with my family? What price wouldn't I pay for an evening with friends? It took a deadly illness to put me eye to eye with that truth, but it is a truth that the country, caught up in its ruthless ambitions and moral decay, can learn on my dime. I don't know who will lead us through the '90s, but they must be made to speak to this spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, this tumor of the soul. -- Lee Atwater, February 1991 article for Life Magazine

5.  Use your heads.  If one exam doesn't make sense to you, then what does?  Come up with your own solutions.  I am not necessarily right.  I've come up with a solution based on what I have seen and experienced.  Maybe it computes with you, or maybe your school is different.  Point: think for yourselves.   And NEVER think that the status quo is the best.

6.  Don't be afraid to contact your deans, your professors, your administrators, and let them know you think things can be done better. 

AND REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!


Out of the mouths of babes
Dec 20th 2005 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition


Prepare to deal with some fairly surly young people

A SURF through the “Student Debt Yearbook” on the Student Debt Alert website reveals plenty of hard-luck stories. Lauren at Arizona State University expects to graduate in 2007, $60,000 in debt. Asked what she is most looking forward to then, she replies: “Law school and more debt.” Sarah graduated from Columbia University this year owing $90,000, while Jason will leave Los Angeles City College in 2008 some $10,000 in the red.

The whingeing student is a feature of political life the world over: in America, despite rising tuition fees, they have been relatively quiet. That may change now that Congress has agreed to slash their subsidised loans. A deal reached on December 18th means that, if the current budget package gets through Congress, student-loan programmes will suffer a net cut of $12.7 billion over the next five years—the biggest cut in university funding since the Higher Education Act was initiated in 1965.

The package is a complicated mixture of savings, spending increases and accounting gimmicks. The Republicans point out that the bill generously provides $3.75 billion in new grants for disadvantaged students studying mathematics, science and foreign languages; that they have spent $1.5 billion raising loan limits for students; and that they have tried to cut subsidies for lenders, not for students. But $15 billion of the gross savings of $21 billion in the bill come from higher fixed interest rates and fees for borrowers.

The Democrats are predictably grousing that the Republicans are driving poor people away from college just to dole out tax cuts to the rich. Student PIRGs, the group behind the debt website, claims that more than 60% of undergraduates finish with some federal debt; and nearly 40% of these borrowers contend with “unmanageable” debt levels, meaning their payments are more than 8% of their monthly incomes. And those who do a stint in graduate school end up even more in debt.

Much of this is grandstanding. For the vast majority of Americans, a college education is a good investment: their post-university incomes are considerably higher (even allowing for their debts). But there are some legitimate worries.

Tuition fees have been rising fast: they are now four times higher in real terms than they were in 1975, according to the latest annual report from the College Board, a group of higher-education institutions. If you add in various necessities, such as books and room and board, private-college students (around 16% of the total) fork out $29,026 a year, while their peers on four-year courses at public colleges pay $12,127. Many states have cut the money they give public universities, pushing more of the costs on to the students. And with ever more Americans wanting to go to university, colleges have been able to hike prices.

Rising demand is certainly a sign of health, but high fees present a challenge for poor Americans. Costs put off 48% of qualified high-school graduates from attending a four-year institution, and 22% from attending any college at all, according to a study by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance in 2002.

The level of Pell grants, the main programme for low-income students, has been frozen at a maximum of $4,050 for the past four years; and its eligibility guidelines were changed last year—with the effect of excluding 81,000 young people and reducing grant money for another 1.9m. The new $3.75 billion for maths, science and language students will help, but critics say the conditions are too strict.

Another group with a legitimate gripe are students who go on to low-paid professional work in the public sector. Careers in social work, education and the worthier sorts of law all normally involve several levels of tertiary education, but the typical salary for graduates entering such public interest professions was just $36,000 in 2002. A recent survey of over 300 juvenile-dependency attorneys in 43 states by the Children's Law Centre of Los Angeles, found that more than half of the lawyers owe at least $50,000 in student loans, and nearly a third owe $75,000.

The Republicans have indeed clamped down on subsidies for private lenders, which provide around 75% of student loans. Banks have done extremely well, thanks to a fixed formula for profits and a guarantee that the government will cover 98% of a student's debts. One particularly egregious subsidy, dating back to the 1980s, allows banks a return of 9.5%—well above current interest rates. This loophole will now be closed, saving the government $1.8 billion over the next five years.

Lest you feel too sorry for the banks, many other subsidies remain. Indeed, some of the cuts in earlier versions of the bill did not make it into the final language. Cynics note that last year the Chronicle of Higher Education traced nearly $1m in campaign contributions from the student-loan industry to members of the House education committee.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 16, 2006, 11:50:53 PM
I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 22, 2006, 11:15:05 PM
The Third-Year Dilemma:
Why Firms Lose Associates
January 4, 2006
WALL STREET JOURNAL


This is the first installment of The FLaw, a new column about law-firm management, with a particular emphasis on the miscues, peculiarities and strange customs of law firms.

At their best, the country's largest law firms are magic-workers. They slip mergers past antitrust watchdogs, unlock revenue from dusty patent portfolios, yell "Duck!" as the Eliot Spitzers of the world are nearing mid-punch.

But when it comes to solving their own problems, big law firms aren't exactly Penn & Teller.

Take, for example, a problem currently roiling Big Law, one we might call the Dilemma of the Third Years.

According to a study unveiled last year by the NALP Foundation, a group that examines law firm hiring trends and practices, law firms have little trouble hanging onto their youngest lawyers -- only one percent and 14 percent of entry-level associates leave their law firms by the end of their first and second years of practice, respectively.

But a whopping 37 percent of associates at big law firms, defined by the study as those employing more than 500 lawyers, quit their firms by the end of their third years of practice.

Taken alone, the percentage might not seem so troubling. Like other professional services firms, law firms are, in the parlance of organizational management, "highly leveraged." That is, they need vastly more associate worker bees -- the 20 and 30-somethings who handle the mountains work generated by a big lawsuit or merger -- than they do queen-bee partners, who on any given matter, mostly map strategy and draw up long to-do lists for others to carry out. In other words, associate attrition isn't a problem, it's a necessity.

But another statistic casts the 37 percent figure in a different light. According to a study released in 2003 by Altman Weil, Inc., a Newtown Square, Pa.-based large consultant to law firms, the average big law firm doesn't start recouping its cash flow investment in an associate until about midway through an associate's fourth year, around the time most start acquiring the skill and confidence to run their own cases and deals.

The costs associated with premature attrition don't end there. When too many associates bolt a given firm during that third year, firms have to replace them with lateral hires, which, according to the NALP Foundation study, runs about $300,000 per associate. Says Dr. Larry Richard of Hildebrandt International, Inc., a Somerset, N.J.-based consultant to large firms: "There's no slush fund for those expenses. You're really just sucking money out of the partners' pockets."

For managing partners everywhere, then, the goal is well-defined: Figure out how to keep more lawyers around until at least about midway through their fifth years, ensuring at least one profit-making year of work from each associate. Firms that can do this will also escape the hefty costs of hiring replacement laterals.

Can law firms change the status quo? Maybe. But first they'll have to unravel an increasingly entrenched idea among associates that they've got to figure out the rest of their careers by the end of their third years of practice.

Manfred Gabriel, a fifth-year associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in New York, says firms start to demand more of associates in their third years. "At that point, the perception seems to be that it's time to ask yourself whether you want to commit yourself to the firm -- maybe make a run at partnership," he says. "If not, it's a good time to leave. You've learned how to do some things, but you're not viewed as someone past [his or her] prime." He left his first firm, LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, as a third-year associate.

Professional recruiters play a big role in the third-year exodus, mostly by fostering a sense that associates have a limited window of marketability." The headhunters started calling early in my third year," recalls Jennifer Boatwright, who left a Milwaukee-based firm for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Dallas in September at the end of her third year of practice. Ms. Boatwright says she and her husband had long considered moving to a warmer climate, but the headhunters dictated the timing of the switch. "They told me that if I hadn't moved by the end of my fourth year, it would be nearly impossible to move" at all, she recalls. "I have no idea if that's true, but it certainly got me moving."

But it's the law firms themselves, not aggressive headhunters nor commitmentphobic associates, that deserve the lion's share of the blame for creating the Dilemma of the Third Years. According to David Maister, an author of several books on management at professional services firms, law firm partnership used to be something young lawyers aspired to. Not anymore. "Partners hate their lives," says Mr. Maister. "They're overworked and stressed out and slaves to the billable hour. Lots of associates see this first hand and can't run away from it fast enough."

Take the experience of Julia Hesse. Last year, Ms. Hesse left Boston's Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP for Ropes & Gray LLP at the end of her third year of practice even though the move cut her chances for partnership. At Ropes & Gray, a firm of 700 lawyers, seven associates made partner last year. "I don't want to be a partner," says Ms. Hesse, "and I don't know a single associate [at Ropes] who wants to make partner." Ms. Hesse says that Ropes's deep health-care practice, which promised good experience and introductions to a healthy roster of outside contacts, enticed her to Ropes. Bradford Malt, Ropes's chairman, agrees that partnership is tough to make at the firm, but boasts that "the experience and training a young attorney gets at Ropes is among the best in the country."

Given the problems associated with partnership, might law firms attack the Third Year Dilemma by reforming at the top?

A trickle are starting to. Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, for example, launched a "balanced hours" program in November to try to, in the words of Peter Kalis, the firm's chairman, "stop the bleeding" away of young lawyers.

Mr. Kalis stresses that the program -- which allows any lawyer to meet anonymously with an organizational sociologist and devise flexible working schedules (subject to the firm's approval, of course) -- is meant for both associates and partners. "Very few partners of AmLaw 100 firms are financially deprived," he says, "but a lot of them are still unhappy."

Happy partners, in Mr. Kalis's view, will solve the Third Year Dilemma and ultimately make for a more profitable firm. "When the people above you are happy, it has a tendency to rub off," he says. "And when associates are happy, not only are they more productive, but in my experience, they stay at your firm."

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: giffy on January 23, 2006, 08:13:26 AM
I'll give you one example before I go to bed (I have class tomorrow).

Last year I finished an exam and I brought it up to the test proctor, waited in line with the 75 other students from the class (ridiculous! we are supposed to get the kind of instruction we need--and I'm at a top school--when we are taught like cattle?!), and handed the test proctor my exam.

"Why don't you have your social security number on this bluebook?" they barked at me. "I am not going to take this bluebook [out of FOUR I missed ONE book, the last I filled in a rush] until you put your number on it."

"No problem, may I use your pen?" I asked.  I left my pen at my seat.

"I shouldn't have to supply a pen to you!  How old are you?" replied the proctor.

Do you think I took that?  I'm 31 years old. I've skydove over Italy.  I've managed the simultaneous closings of two ten-billion dollar transactions.  I've camped in the Amazon.  I moved to New York City on my own dime and made a success of it.  Who the hell are you to talk to me like that, when I show you nothing but courtesy?  I pay to take this course and this exam, I do not pay for your disrespect.

You think I didn't say that?  I certainly did.  Disrespect me, and I will disrespect you.  What were they going to do, not take my test because I did not take their disrespect?

Look - all you guys have the intelligence, or you wouldn't be in law school.  Get some confidence and stick up for yourselves. 

You already posted this example in another thread. Honestly is this the only example you have for the incredible lack of respect at law school. Bet ya made it up. Probably not even in Law School.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 24, 2006, 08:54:48 PM
You know, when someone has to tear another person down based on assumptions, it shows they have no ideas, no ability to debate the issues, and probably lacks the intelligence.

"I bet you don't go to law school"
"I bet you are from Nebraska"
"I bet you are arrogant"
"I bet you made crappy grades"
"I bet you made that up."
"I bet you go to a crappy school"

I bet you guys don't know how stupid you all sound trying to figure out irrelevant characteristics of a postor instead of sticking to the issue.  This is the problem we face in this country:  people attack instead of think.  Attack my ideas, not made up notions and facts about me personally, which you can never really know for certain. It's true - you have no idea if I am in law school or not.  So what?  Debate the ideas with me and let's see if you have the knowledge to keep up. 

Go get some ideas and educate yourself on the issues, instead of trying to shoot fish in a barrel.  Really.  Every post that you guys put up like that just makes me look that much smarter.  Because you have nothing to say.  I take it as a compliment you think it is worth your while to read all that I write and then make flacid attempts to respond about me.  Would you like a date or something?

I wanted to start a thread devoted to that one issue is the only reason you see it repeated.  "I bet you aren't smart enough to have considered that."  I can say that because, you know, you haven't really evidenced much intelligence on lawschooldiscussion.com.

http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 24, 2006, 09:15:30 PM
And these facts remain:

1.  Professors do not use the socratic method - stop worrying.

2.  Professors are judged not by how well they teach, but by how publishable is their research.  So whether they actually educate or not is largely irrelevant.  Why do you think that curve is so necessary?  Ever wonder what professional attorneys would think of our exams?  They'd probably laugh.  Does that show a flaw with us, or with how we are taught?

3.  One exam over a year or a semester is inherently flawed as an accurate measure of ability in a learning environment.

4.  Law schools are businesses, and even though the third year's usefulness can best be described as "tenuous," the schools show no sign of giving up 1/3 of that income.  Our debt keeps us indentured servants to law firms.  You guys are excited about those summer associate positions, but once you get out there and start working, and realize you have no time for vacations (or continually have to change your plans); no time to spend with your children; no time to spend with your spouses; no time to find spouses, etc. you will--like almost EVERY law firm associate--start questioning why you ever did this to yourself.

5.  Drug use and alcoholism in the legal community is, as my Professional Responsibility professor said, "Endemic."  Now you know why.  But we don't fix it.

6.  These problems have been known by the legal community for a long, long time, but nothing changes.  Why?  Because they convince law students this is the way it has to be.  But it is all a big business--and a big lie--and the cost is ridiculous.  There is zero justification that our education is worth 30K a year.  Zero. 

7.  Only America educates its attorneys in this manner, at such crushing cost.  The largest and most influential law firms in the world are based out of Europe - I wonder why they do such good jobs, yet don't require their own attorneys to go through such a ruinous system. 

Maybe it is time you all started asking yourselves those questions.  Then ask your professors, lawyers you know, your deans.  Debate with them. Argue with them.  Let them know it is not right. 

Because you know what?  Nobody cares about the lot of lawyers, except lawyers.  We are loathed in society (why?  Because the right wing HATES that we applied the Bill of Rights to the whole country during the Warren era - and they got it into the popular culture to hate us too) and if we are going to fix this BS then we are going to have to do it ourselves.  Problem is, it is lawyers who keep this system in place.  "I have seen the enemy, and it is We."
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: giffy on January 25, 2006, 09:37:06 AM
Chirs, maybe the reason we don't really debate you is because we think your issues are silly and pointless. I for one think law school is fine. LS is like any other profession, there are those who want to be at the top and work 60-80 hours per week and there are the other 90% who don't and work 40-50. Because of the competitive nature of law and the challenge of getting into LS there is probably a bit higher percentage of lawyers who want to be the top then other profession. For this same reason you are likely to find these highly competitive folks over represented at the top schools. But I bet if you look at doctors you would find the same thing.

I for one know of a couple of students at my school who work like crazy and then there are the rest who like me put in around 40 hours. The fact is that most people who work a lot choose to do so because they want to be the top of the class. 

That being said I have never disagreed with you on the cost of law school and the problem of debt. We do need to do something about that, but it is a problem in the whole of academia and will be difficult to solve without adopting a European style college system, which while good, seems unlikely.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lawgirl on January 25, 2006, 10:41:02 AM
I quit reading it because I felt like I was being preached to. I would have been interested in the substance of it had it not been for that.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 25, 2006, 03:09:56 PM
I don't mean for my tone to be preachy.  I suppose the stridence comes from how little I hear my classmates talk about how to fix things.  Not just with law school, but with the world.  With the country.  And there's so much that needs to be fixed, it's almost overwhelming.  I would love for this to be 1988, or 1992 again when it really didn't matter who was running things.  Bush/Dukakis - so they'll each tool with some social policies, but the one party always moderated the others.  Bush/Clinton same thing.  Now a party that half the country didn't vote for gives them no consideration. And that party doesn't even follow the principles of its traditional base!  And the Dems would do the same thing.  It sucks!

But the contrasts seem so stark now; the stakes for our national character so high.  Not in the parties, but in the people.  The people in charge are so unprincipled!  In both parties!  I don't even know if we all know what kind of people we are electing anymore, because we listen to attacks so much and instead of holding them to their words, we convince ourselves of their spin just so we don't feel we made a bad choice.  I see it happen all the time!  And in Bruce Bartlett's case, when he stood up for conservative fiscal principles he was fired!  And David Brooks said, "Bush is the new conservative."  Conservatives, you guys need to be careful because his policies aren't conservative and they are proving very unpopular.  You guys are going to have your policies tarred, which sucks because generally you all are theh smartest economists.  We love the thrill of the argument, but we aren't discussing enough.   

And when I sat through Constitutional Law and the professor would ask the class for opinions, nobody would give them.  It can't all be out of shyness.  Many of the people in the class were moot court competitors.  I knew who the Federalist Society guys were, and they never spoke either.

Our professor would raise historical facts that contradicted both Originalist doctrine AND broad constructionist doctrine, and nobody would say a thing.  I wish they would have.  I would like to hear conservative viewpoints and liberal viewpoints debate Constitutional Law with each other.  What a benefit that was supposed to be to law school!  Nobody speaks.  I did, but I did not want to be "The Talker" or the "Free Space" on law school bingo.  Outside of class I didn't have all that much time attend debates and lectures.  I was also working 25 hours a week.  Besides, I wanted to hear a group of my peers volly with each other, moderated by a knowledgable moderator.  He tried.  We just didn't respond.

I wish he had been socratic!  I wanted to hear perspectives. 

But then my Con Law professor would sometimes make fun of students in front of the class.  Often it was good natured and fun, and we all had a kick out of it.  But often, too, it would be cruel, and it was certain to keep hands down.  Because it was only the people who raised their hands he called on.  And it bothered me, because I didn't pay to have this short man use his tall brain to make himself feel good at the expense of learning students.  And it was nothing socratic. 

There's the activists on campus, but it always seems to be the same 30 people.  What I mean to say, is my stridence comes from wondering if anyone is paying attention?  I'm not saying they aren't, but I am saying I don't see it in class, or when we all go out. 

But it's not 1992 anymore, and that's how I was back then when I first started undergrad; but we all still talked casually about politics.  People who go to law school are supposed to love history, philosophy and/or politics, because that's all we study. 

And it seems like the problems we face--that we are going to be FORCED to face--are right around the corner.  And it's going to be all of us--you too giffy, and me--who have to deal with the consequences.  And our kids.  Whether it's Avian flu (or another contagion), a hurricane or earthquake levels another city, or Asia stops buying our debt, or what if millions and millions of us all of a sudden reached a point where we could no longer pay our debt?  That has profound implications for the economy, for our jobs.  For our families.  And it seems almost likely.  Because the credit faucet never ends anymore, and people put their basic needs on cards.  It's not just medical or law school, but it's almost every effective institution for bettering ourselves has become super-costly.  We are endangering future prosperity. It's like the Goya painting of Saturn devouring his own son.  The baby boomers are only in it for themselves, and they only care about getting re-elected and doing whatever it takes in the short term.  There's no long-term thinking anymore.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Goya_-_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo.jpg/180px-Goya_-_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo.jpg)

So I don't mean the tone to be preachy, but almost like "oh my God! what are we going to do about all of this?!  how are we to make sense of all this?!"  And then we are advocating torture, killing kids and retarded people; and we keep secret jails; and so few people don't mind that we have kept people imprisoned for FOUR YEARS with no access to courts, or even charging them.  And we shrug off our government shrugging off the 4th Amendment, and spying on us.  And the Incorporation Debate is coming back, and that's going to be major.

And people say "terrorism" and I want to be safe too.  I mean, I live in New York City.  But it's strange that the city that lived through 9/11 never agrees with how that event is used politically.  I don't know what that means.

I don't know what any of it means.  But I do know I don't hear many people my age (31) and younger talking about it.  And it kind of scares me, because we seem so unprepared.  And we know about these things.  Just like we had a red flag about bin Laden and FEMA had a red flag about New Orleans.  New Orleans.  One of the funnest, most unique cities we had.  I spent a month there one year.  It was so fun.  And it seems to be dying and choking.  And all the money goes to a war, that I supported in the beginning too. But what do I know?  It seems like our leaders should have known more than they did before undertaking a war that is now projected to run a Trillion dollars!  Trillion!  It's like, nobody thought ahead that there might be bigger problems.  Remember how the oil from Iraq would pay for itself?  I mean, what is going on with us?!  Why are we electing these people?  There are so few Democrats and Republicans I like, and I don't see why other people can't put aside their local pork-barrelling and elect some people to fix things!

We have no money for all these problems we have to deal with.  And God help us, Iran.  I'm not preachy, I'm scared.  Because so far two major disasters with two warnings.  What's next?!  There's so much we haven't prepared for.  And my place to start is where I'm at:  law school, and thinking about how to fix that, because I think there's a better way.  Because if we could come up with a system where people could choose how many hours they wanted to work, that would allow for more options.  But Giffy your wrong - law firms all have a minimum billable hour and it is usually 2000.  CLIENT billable.  There's a lot of time in the office you can't bill.  That's why you have to stay late, just to get that minimum BILLABLE time.  And you work for a cheap client or one that's important, there may be some hours you have to work on a matter you can't bill.  It's just the game.  And we can't afford not to play it.  Not with our debt.  And it seems like citizens are going to have to start putting their heads together more to solve some problems, because our leaders are sh*t at doing so. 

We lawyers are going to have to be in top shape financially, spiritually and emotionally because if you guys haven't checked, our ranks run everything.  That's just a fact.  And the solutions are going to have to come from our ranks.  And it's going to take a lot of us to spend a little spare time thinking like citizens again.  And I don't see it happening.  Maybe it's just my school.  That's why I came on here.  To see if these things resonated with anyone else.  I admit, my tone sounds preachy, but it's not meant that way.  Maybe declarative to provoke response, but that's not always the most effective method, I concede.  My voice is distorted by frustration, and I need to work on that.  Plus, people think I'm partisan, and I'm not.  I just think our leaders suck.  We can keep the exact same numbers, but my goodness can't we fill the seats with some thinkers and compromisers, and all agree to a truce on the social issues tearing us apart.  All sides?  Gay marriage, abortion, prayer, right to die, medicinal marijuana, etc.  Can't we just put those aside, all of us, collectively make some determination to keep the status quo on those isues, and deal with the immediate problems facing us? 

I just...don't have any answers myself.  I suppose this was my way of yelling it without actually doing so physically in the midst of these large classes, where nobody will even raise their hand to say whether they think Alito should or should not be confirmed.  Because the future don't seem so bright right now...and I guess I just wish we'd all start talking about how to fix it, and stop listening to the generation that f**cked it up.  And stop hating each other so much.

Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: aloha737pilot on January 26, 2006, 02:11:40 AM
Chris,

You are very preachy in your tone and demeanor. You are like the fire and brimstone priest I remember from the first church my parents took me to in Brooklyn. It scared the hell out of me. I avoid Catholic churches to this day.
Do you really expect your classmates to have the same attitude about the world as you? Some will be happy to graduate with their JD, some will be gone next year breathing a sigh of relief, and some will silently kick everyones academic ass and be totally unknown. How can you fault them for handling law school in their own way? You are obviously passionate about what you believe, in a slightly zealous way. Can't you come up with a plan to accomplish what you need to without turning off everyone you come in contact with (on this board)?
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: lincolnsgrandson on January 26, 2006, 07:21:21 AM
Just stick a fork in Chris's ass - he's done.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Aerst2 on January 26, 2006, 09:45:20 PM
Wow, this is pretty pitiful. Chris is definitely the party who is in the right here. For all you law students: are personal attacks the only way you can think? Chris has some valid points, and is being pretty reasonable, and the best arguments you can make are little more than name-calling. Is this what law school teaches? If so, even more reform is needed than what Chris recommends.

Yes, he pounds the points over and over again (although this somewhat necessary in the politics of today.) Yes, his posts are like books when simple sentences would do. Yes, he mixes his point and his political views unnecessarily. But he does make valid points, and the best that the rest of you can do is "I bet you go to a crappy school." Come on! You are offended by his views and the best responses you can come up with only serve to feed his logic!

I bet you are going to make poor lawyers if you can't see the illogic in your own responses.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: giffy on January 26, 2006, 09:52:26 PM
Chris,

Two quick points because I am tired and have had some wine tonight.

First, Just because some of us don't see the problem with LS does not mean we are not engaged with the world. I follow the news quite closely,, have friends in elected office, and am involved with many groups (from abortion rights to environmentalism). I am actually looking to possibly run for office in either 08 or 10.

Second, Not every attorney goes to work in a big firm. I don’t have the numbers but I bet it is much less than 50%. Plus there are firms that have less than 2000 billables. I now of at least a few in Seattle that are around 1800. Even still I don’t know of any real job (outside entertainment and sports) were you can make 80k plus to start and work less than 50-60 hours per week.

The problem I see with the way you come across is that you act like caring about your issue is a prerequisite for being a good person who is engaged with the world. You also seem to think that people who disagree with you or who don't conform to your expectations are not good or fulfilled people. I am not sure if you really feel this way or if it is just your writing style.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on January 27, 2006, 09:10:26 PM
Interesting responses, and aside from Lincoln, well-thought.

Giffy:  "The problem I see with the way you come across is that you act like caring about your issue is a prerequisite for being a good person who is engaged with the world. You also seem to think that people who disagree with you or who don't conform to your expectations are not good or fulfilled people. I am not sure if you really feel this way or if it is just your writing style."

Not at all.  I am not talking about any issues that don't affect ALL of us.   Although I propose changes to the JD program, I otherwise am only arguing our generation is not focusing on the problems we MUST deal with.  There’s a lot of problems facing us. 

Yes, my writing style is too wordy.  I agree.  I am too lazy to edit posts.

Giffy, I currently am in law school and I do not feel the program accurately measures our abilities. I feel it is too expensive, which keeps qualified (but poorer) people out, or makes us incur incredible debt.  Those who take on the debt often are forced to work for the highest bidder. 

I am not anti-large firm, but there is no variance in work schedules.  So an attorney who wants to make partner yet, can bill 2200 hours a year to the client, but an attorney who wants to work a traditional schedule does not have that option.  They are given projects that require them to stay in the office.  Or they are senior and juniors can't do the work, or their minimum billables (2000) are low and that spells trouble for them.  This is a fact not only in New York, but Denver, Colorado Springs, Houston, Austin, etc. (I personally know for those). 

I would not argue what I argue if we could elect the track we wish to work.  But law firms see your first three years as a time to squeeze as much work from you as possible.  Whoever handled it best is seen as partner material.  The others can languish, or are asked to leave.  For instance, Hunton & Williams will ask any attorney who does not want to make partner to leave.  I was told this at one of their socials.

The cost to educate ourselves limits our choices or limits our lifestyle.  Or both.  Then we are worked crazy hours.  It's not 100% true, but it is indeed the norm. 

I argue against this because 1. I see what it does to my friends and what it did to my sister before she left a large firm to work for the city prosecutor.  She has had to default on her debt off and on it remains always over her head.  But she wanted a family.  2.  I'm not saying we are "Golden Children" but the reason we run almost everything is because we learn the history of the system, the reasoning behind it, and why some things are the way they are even if they seem unfair.  For instance, we have always felt we would rather let a guilty murderer go free than execute an innocent man.  It's a principle.

I make the connection between law school and the country for several reasons.  First, there are very serious problems we have to confront, and both conservatives and liberals are pointing them out.  It's just our leaders--who supposedly subscribe to those philosophies--who aren't listening.  Because they care more about abortion, or gay marriage, or other social issues.  That's fine, but right now there are more pressing issues.

My tone is more alarmist than preachy.  I genuinely don't understand why we don't see how severe are the problems we face.  Governor Corzine says, "It'll take a tragedy before they monitor the chemical storage plant."  We learn there were red flags to prevent both 9/11 and N.O.  I'm not blaming any political party.  I'm blaming us.  WE aren't focusing on these issues and forcing our leaders to deal with them.  NARAL and Operation Rescue and Jay Sekulow and these other groups keep us distracted from problems that could kill people we know.  It's happened twice already.  I don't know why I come across as crazy or a henny-penny.  I don't think it has anything to do with political parties.  I just am surprised that in law school, an atmosphere MOST suited to discuss these threats, nobody will even register an opinion.

Like I said, I am not preaching because I am not telling you guys you are wrong or right.  Just that I don't see us focusing on problems that could possibly hit us at any moment.  It feels like we care more if we are "Democrat" or "Republican" and will listen to whatever those labels tell us, but those guys really have messed the country up for ALL OF US. 

I'm not advocating anything.  I began these threads with ideas and proposals.  Sorry if I sound hellfire and brimstone, but it's not like the sources who are warning us are conspiracy theorists and fringe activists.  Greenspan, in his last speech, cautioned the economy.  So did The Economist.  But Bush thinks all is good.  It sucks, because conservative fiscal policies worked for us for so long, and they aren't enacting them.  Our politicians not only lie, but go completely against what they espouse.  Yet they say their ideas get them elected.

I'm just surprised others aren't as concerned.  Because this problem is going to land right in our laps.  We laugh about how we'll never see Social Security as if it's a joke and doesn't matter...I've done it too.  But we do nothing about it.  We demand nothing to fix it.  I just don't get it, is all.  It's not preachy - because I don't have any answers myself.  I just wish we'd start thinking about it.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: verbal on January 27, 2006, 11:19:55 PM
chris i think your right about how apathetic this generation is to politics. one of the reasons i want to start law school in august is to find educated people who care about world events. i have been told by lots of people that im out of luck. Since u have been worrying about how to fix problems i will tell u how to fix one. all u have to do is raise the social security tax by 3.8 percent today or cut benefits by 12.9 percent today and social security will be saved. ah the joys of a degree in economics.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: giffy on January 28, 2006, 09:40:40 AM
I completely agree that the amount of debt LS often requires people to go to work at big firms. However it is still a minority that winds up at BIGlaw. Here are the statistics for UW (the highest ranked school in the NW.
http://www.law.washington.edu/career/profiles.html

Of the half of students who go into private practice only a 1/3 go to work at firms larger then 100 and only 8.9% go to work at truly mega firms (500+). While these firms often require intense hours for the first 3-7 years, many are willing to do so because they want to make partner and make tons of money. This is especially true for younger students who graduate at 23-25 and figure they'll work their asses off now so that when they have a family at 30 they can have plenty of money. Granted that a good deal burn out or underestimate the work required, but that is true of any high level job. That being said we should do something about the cost of law school. One idea would be to allow students who go to work for less than a certain amount to pay off their debts over a longer period of time, but keep the total interest accrued the same. Assuming the movement helps to subsidize the whole thing could be close to revenue neutral. We could also expand the number of law programs offered by state schools. For example in Seattle we have two law schools UW a public schools chares around 13k whereas Seattle U a private school charges around 25k. We could also create an entirely public education lending program with a fixed rate of less than 1%. This could cut peoples debt payments by 1/3-1/2 depending on what rates they would otherwise have and the whole thing would be almost free (in the long run). Do both loan programs and you could take debt payments for the average student form around 1000 a month to a couple hundred.

As for the broader problem of social awareness, I agree to a point. However I think the tide is turning in that regard. The youth vote was up around 10% in the last election and more and more young people are getting involved in interest groups, or at least following the news on the internet. America has always been a rather apathetic country, but that doesn't mean we can't improve.

Other then that I pretty much agree with you. WE need to do more preventative care and we need to start addressing the problems we face. However, none of this is going to happen until we get leaders who see government as part of the solution and not simply a means to award the rich and big corporations with windfall tax cuts and subsidies.
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Yalee on February 13, 2006, 11:14:11 PM
My Civ. Pro. professor uses the socratic method......
Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Pittman2 on February 23, 2006, 12:11:24 AM
Yalee, that is an awesome no-frills post following this virtual melee.

By the way, how is Yale Law (assuming that you're in law school there)?

A few comments:
aloha737pilot: I'm Catholic. Most Catholic churches, at least the vast majority (or all) of the churches I've visited, have respectable, attentive, calm, and intellectually invigorating yet also reasoned priests.

giffy: I understand your concern regarding taxes. If you have discounted the Laffer Curve, I suggest you revisit it. It helps clear up the basic counter-intuititiveness of reducing taxes for the richest tax payers; but, of course, it doesn't admit of indisputability.

Overall, I praise your efforts, Chris, to fight for what you believe in. Jesus said not to be luke-warm, if I recall correctly..

I believe debt is a big issue. Baby-boomers are not (and were not) necessarily out to get us. I do agree, however, that poor foresight and lack of appropriate priorities here will hurt us and our generation.

In terms of the cost of law school, it is both exorbitant and, in some ways, reasonable. Adam Smith's writings on the determinants of wages can inform this discussion. Moreover, on its face, the situation of most neophyte lawyers juxtaposed with that of most other workers - firemen, janitors, teachers, roofers, etc. - admits of the former not only having far more debt but also having far more long-term income potential, job flexibility, power, prestige, and so on. See the virtual equilibrium here? I believe that it takes hard work to become a lawyer. Yet it also produces quite ripe fruit.
(The previous comments does not suggest that one should not fight for qualitative improvements in the legal education system. Rather, it provides a context for outspoken concerns regarding the system and an appreciation of opportunities, which I assume exists.)
    In some ways, as has occurred throughout recorded history, those who attain power will attempt, unintentionally or in a premeditated manner, to maintain and increase their power. In the case of law, professors will earn tons of money without needing to teach most efficaciously, choosing instead to publish texts etc., and will have these choices honored by their sponsoring institutions. Insofar as market competition is unreactive, the allocation of resources in exchange for pay may be a non-zero-sum game. You may not get what you pay for. Likewise, any attempt at achieving a legal meritocracy may be proportionately thwarted. As you say, similar (law)people will be rewarded by similar predecessors and the cycle to some extent will continue. Yet is this fully inappropriate? Good question.

On balance, I enjoyed reading the vociferous argumentation here presented - even with its ad hominem bent. For those who have what clearly is a "correct" stance, I would encourage you to ask yourself questions about your stance while purposefully presupposing that the opposite stance (if such exists) is correct. This sort of process, dialectical/self-socratic in a sense (if there is such a thing), can help one to readily disentangle complex issues in a usefully disinterested way.

Title: Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
Post by: Chris Laurel on March 10, 2006, 01:29:29 AM
Giffy-

Despite our initial back n' forths, I think we're on the same team.  I agree my written voice sounds too angry and sanctimonious.  To a degree, it's a reaction to what seems like apathy and indifference in my school.  To another extent, it's general frustration with the country.  And also, there is something therapeutic about ranting anonymously.

Still, I stand by what I said in my posts.  I dislike the structure, but love the education, of the JD program.  I dislike how schools have become indifferent to the costs they impose on students, even though they have endowments.  Schools care too much about glamour and growth, and not enough on how their cost structure forces people into careers they do not want or limits their lifestyle and choices.

I am not miserable and I definitely do not walk around ranting like I do on this board (could you imagine?).  I'm actually known as a laid back and very funny guy.  Still, I see so many problems in our society that threaten our prosperity and liberty (sorry for the amorphous concept - but how else to describe it?)

I'm known as the funny laid back guy in real time, but that doesn't mean I am not frightened about where we are going.  If I can't post it anonymously and beg for people to not personally attack who I am, but instead attack and debate my ideas, then what good is the Internet? 

I dunno - whether you all liked it or not, these thread made ME feel better.  No, of course I did not expect to change the world with these words.  I just wanted to get this *&^% off my chest.  If you guys didn't want to be victimized by my diatribes, all you had to do was not read them.

That people did and attacked me personally is interesting when you really consider it, because hasn't this thread in particular displayed the problem the country has with discourse?  We are so quick to criticize and tear down, instead of considering and debating the merits of the idea.  This thread in particular is a prime example of this problem.  Giffy, you and I are allies in spirit, yet we were opponents on this board.  Why are Americans so ready to smack their fellow citizens and deride them when they express passion, instead of critiquing their ideas, thus helping to make them stronger?

Doesn't anyone see how this is a problem for creativity and ingenuity?  We should encourage, even if we also advise others to temper their tone. 
Title: AA draws ire of environmentalists after 5-passenger 777 flight
Post by: Tasso on March 07, 2008, 08:28:04 AM
Chris,

Two quick points because I am tired and have had some wine tonight.

First, Just because some of us don't see the problem with LS does not mean we are not engaged with the world. I follow the news quite closely,, have friends in elected office, and am involved with many groups (from abortion rights to environmentalism). I am actually looking to possibly run for office in either 08 or 10.


Enough with environmentalism and the like! Did you ear the lastest protest from environmentalists? Furious, as they always appear to be, they claimed American Airlines committed an "environmental crime" after flying a nearly empty Boeing 777 between Chicago O'Hare and London Heathrow, the Daily Mail of London reports. AA flew the 777 with just 5 passengers, something that came about after a long delay meant most of that flight's other customers had gone and secured options on other flights. But environmental activists charged that a 5-person flight means the carrier ended up burning 4,400 gallons of fuel per flier. They suggest AA should have canceled the trip instead of flying a flight they view as wasteful. Richard Dyer, a member of the group Friends of the Earth, tells the Daily Mail: "Through no fault of their own, each passenger's carbon footprint for this flight is about 45 times what it would have been if the plane had been full." But the environmentalists' complaints appear to put AA in a "darned if you do, darned if you don't" situation. AA says it decided to fly the flight because it had a full plane-load of passengers waiting at Heathrow to board the return flight the 777 was scheduled to operate. Without operating the "empty" flight, that 777 would have been out of position and a second flight would have been canceled. The average load factor across the Atlantic is 88%, that is every plane flying between the U.S. and the U.K. is 88% full. To transfer 250 passengers onto other planes would take days to clear the flight, because there will be five passengers on one plane here and 10 on another there. The bulk of the passengers will spend two or three days stuck in a hotel being paid for by the airline.