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Topics - tencigars

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Current Law Students / Psychopath attorneys
« on: May 30, 2005, 09:19:54 AM »
Chances are you know several psychopaths.  You sit or sat next to them in your classes.  You work or will work with them in your practice.

In The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us, Harvard professor Martha Stout says that "one in twenty-five of us has no conscience and can do absolutely anything at all without feeling guilty.

Contrary to popular misconception, though a large percentage of murders and rapes are committed by sociopaths, most sociopaths don't commit such crimes.  Most are ostensibly law abiding--because of the legal and social sanctions. A high percentage of them are very smart (often charming too). And a majority of them are strongly attracted to power and so seek professions and authority positions with influence over others--without a desire for the actual responsibility, of course.

When stepping on others benefits them a small amount and costs them nothing, they don't hesitate. Worse, when they can get away with it without repercussion, they make others jump or suffer simply for the sensation of power. (Why not? The harm they cause others doesn't trouble them.)

4% of the population. 1 in 25. More in law than other fields. Pretty shocking, eh? Makes you wonder about those around you doesn't it? As well it should, because that 4% is responsible for a disproportionate share of the needless, intentionally inflicted or callously tolerated, pain and suffering in the world.

The disorder arises in part because of genetics and in part as a result of nurture.  The most popular theory is that it arises from an early attachment disorder.  It's an odd and sad fact that orphaned babies in hospitals die if not handled.  Insufficient physical contact and affectionate/responsive care of a baby's needs inhibits development of certain human qualities--apparently conscience is one of them.

By the way, I would like to stray further from the law and interject here that I think the modern western practice of housing a baby in a separate room and ignoring its cries (a practice only common in a recent fraction of human existence, and still not common practice in most of the world--where sleeping with the baby is still the norm), though endorsed by some modern doctors peddling new parenting concepts such as "teaching the baby to self-soothe" (read: facillitating parent rationalization) is very harmful.  Not only does it cause the baby very real and unnecessary anxiety (throughout evolution abandoned babies were at risk to predators, etc.) and create a lack of trust in their parents, it stunts their development.  Just because lots of other people you know are now isolating their children doesn't mean it's best or even right.  Similarly, the very recent practice of sending babies and toddlers to day care is, though prevalent and in the cases of working mothers often necessary, usually a poor substitute for traditional mother/home care, and may be detrimental.

Note: Sociopathy and psychopathy are synomyms. Modernly, the APA terms it a personality disorder: the Antisocial Personality Disorder.

How would you rank Columbia, U Penn, Cornell, and UCLA?

Scale of 0 to 100.  I'm trying to determine what the perceived difference between them is.

(By the way, I no longer have access to the UNWR data and don't recall what lawyers, judges, other schools thought of these schools, so if anyone happens to have that info at their fingertips, I'd be grateful.)

I was happy to be accepted and offered scholarships by UT, Vanderbilt, and UCLA.  I chose UCLA (48k) because it has a superb yet accessible faculty, a public interest law bent and other varied opportunities (not just a corporate law mill), a dynamic and interesting student body with a range of ages (I'm older than typical), a happier and less stressful environment than that of most law schools, and an attractive campus situated in a desireable location.

I do not yet know what area of law I will go into.  I do know that I definitely do not want to go corporate law, and that I whatever I do, I want it to be meaningful.  (An ex graduated from HLS, was hired by Big Law, represented the tobacco industry, and was miserable working long hours.)  I think I may want to teach at some point.

I am from Florida and will probably seek to return to the Tampa Bay area after law school.  I am concerned that UCLA's reputation will not open doors here as it might in other areas of the country, that it might not impress any more than the Univ of FL, which though a very good school, is ranked in the 40's.

My question is this..
What should I do if I am contacted by one of the schools at which I am wait-listed (Columbia, U Penn, Cornell)?  And should I make a strong effort to get accepted at these schools?

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