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Messages - Chris Laurel

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General Board / Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« on: January 25, 2006, 01:01:11 AM »
You're a fool.  Respect should be automatically given, and disrespect earned.  Otherwise our society would be unworkable.  Who wants to live in a country where we have to prove we are worthy of respect?  Not me.  Are we supposed to carry around credentials with us, or something?  Maybe we can all start wearing military clothing so we know our rank in society, and who we need to respect, and who we can disrespect.

Anyone who says respect must be earned has a value system worthy of derision.  They are the jerks you come across everyday and say, "Jeez, can people really be that way?"

General Board / Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« on: January 25, 2006, 12:51:45 AM »

I think it's because a lot of them like to have a martyr complex about the whole thing, they think it makes them tougher or something.

I think that is EXACTLY what is behind their support for the current system.  They obviously don't know too many practicing associates because many, if not most, are miserable and wish they never went to law school. 

I worked for two years at Fulbright in Texas and four years at Clifford Chance in NYC.  I know these people.  They are my friends.  I case-managed their transactions.  They know I write what I write.  And they all universally agree with what I say.  I know I won't convince everyone.  But it matters not that some swashbuckling law students who have no idea what they are in for don't see it.

You toughies - there's more to life than law.  There's families, there's community (and NOT just giving at the office); there's hobbies; there's problems we need to fix in this country (the require the whole of the citizenry to focus on them).  These things are NOT things most people can do without and be happy.  The legal profession has proven that true. 

It gives me no satisfaction that the toughies who post on these boards will often succumb to the same misery as the rest of the profession.  It's sad. See for yourselves:

Those unhappy, unhealthy lawyers
Notre Dame Magazine     

   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.

Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and use illegal drugs at rates far higher than nonlawyers. One group of researchers found that the rate of alcoholism among lawyers is double the rate of alcoholism among adults generally, while another group of researchers estimated that 26 percent of lawyers had used cocaine at least once C twice the rate of the general population. One out of three lawyers suffers from clinical depression, alcoholism or drug abuse. Not surprisingly, a preliminary study indicates that lawyers commit suicide and think about committing suicide more often than nonlawyers.

The divorce rate among lawyers appears to be higher than the divorce rate among other professionals. Felicia Baker LeClere of Notre Dame=s Center for the Study of Contemporary Society compared the incidence of divorce among lawyers to the incidence of divorce among doctors, using data from the 1990 census. LeClere found that the percentage of lawyers who are divorced is higher than the percentage of doctors who are divorced and that the difference is particularly pronounced among women.

People who are this unhealthy C people who suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and suicide to this extent C are almost by definition unhappy. It should not be surprising, then, that lawyers are indeed unhappy, nor should it be surprising that the source of their unhappiness seems to be the one thing that they have in common: their work as lawyers. In large numbers, lawyers say that they are unhappy with their careers, that they would not become lawyers again if they had the choice, that they would not advise their children or others to become lawyers, and that they hope to leave the practice of law before the end of their careers. Even as the market for legal services has improved in the last few years, the morale of lawyers has declined to new lows, especially for lawyers in private practice.

Why are lawyers so unhealthy and unhappy? Why do so many lawyers, in the words of Judge Laurence Silberman, Ahate what the practice of law has become?@ Lawyers give many reasons. They complain about the commercialization of the legal profession C about the fact that practicing law has become less of a profession and more of a business. They complain about the increased pressure to attract and retain clients in a ferociously competitive marketplace. They complain about having to work in an adversarial environment. They complain about not having control over their lives and about being at the mercy of judges and clients. They complain about a lack of civility among lawyers. They complain about a lack of collegiality and loyalty among their partners. And they complain about their poor public image. Mostly, though, they complain about the hours.

In every study of the career satisfaction of lawyers of which I am aware, in every book or article about the woes of the legal profession that I have read, and in every conversation about life as a practicing lawyer that I have heard, lawyers complain about the long hours they have to work. In the words of the American Bar Association, lawyers are complaining with increasing vehemence about Aliving to work, rather than working to live@ C about being Aasked not to dedicate, but to sacrifice their lives to the firm.@ Lawyers often suffer from a nostalgic longing for a past that never really existed. But when it comes to their brutal work schedules, lawyers have reason to complain, and they have reason to believe that the problem has grown worse. Thirty years ago, most partners billed between 1,200 and 1,400 hours per year and most associates between 1,400 and 1,600 hours. Today, over half of the associates and almost a quarter of the partners in private practice bill at least 2,000 hours per year. In the biggest and most prestigious law firms, almost everyone bills close to 2,000 hours, and many bill 2,500 hours or more.

Researchers have found that what makes people happy is the nature (not the amount) of the work they do and the quality of their lives outside of work. Long hours at the office have no relationship to the former and take away from the latter. Every hour that lawyers spend at their desks is an hour that they do not spend doing many of the things that give their lives joy and meaning: being with their spouses, playing with their children, relaxing with their friends, visiting their parents, going to movies, reading books, volunteering at the homeless shelter, playing softball, collecting stamps, traveling the world, getting involved in a political campaign, going to church, working out at a health club. There=s no mystery about why lawyers are so unhappy: They work too much.

General Board / Re: The truth so quit whining
« on: January 25, 2006, 12:29:50 AM »
What a great post!  It ignores all the problems law students and lawyers face, and ignores that there is a better way to teach and practice.  It ignores that more exams is more accurate.  It ignores the numerous evidence that completely contradicts the original post on this thread.

I personally have not argued once to make law school easier, but to make it more effective, more accurate.  More tests.  TAs who can take time to explain concepts that one professor with a 115 students can't necessarily do. 

This isn't whining.  This is a problem we all face in the country: when a person says "there is a better way" people say it is whining without saying WHY the proposed better way is not better, and WHY the status quo works so well. 

Alcoholism and drug addiction are endemic in the legal community and at law schools.  The pressure we are under is inhuman, and pointless.  Firms work us like mules.  We are, hands-down, the unhappiest profession out there.  I've posted the studies and articles that back this up.  I am, by far, not the first person to say this stuff.  If you are so assured of your point of view, why don't you start producing some evidence?  I dare you - get some studies or SOMETHING besides just your ruminations.  I did - can't you?

We aren't talking about the top 10% of the class, the brains that will always do well one test or not.  Or those who for three years give up any semblance of life outside of law school (and why is that okay?)  We're talking about the next 20% of the class - and there the variance is wide in their grades. 

It's kind of sad when people ignore problems and advocate the delusional thinking that the current system is the best.  Like I said, I don't want things easier, I want them more accurate.  More exams, and TAs.  Why don't you put up something besides what comes out of your head to back up your whining about what you see as other people whining.

Book Sales and Trades / Re: Chris Laurel's tips on books and supplements
« on: January 25, 2006, 12:01:41 AM »
Books on the internet, who'd a thought.

By the way I would not go around looking for books in other peoples lockers or around the school. In crimlaw we called that stealing. 

Giffy, when you say things like that you call into question whether you are in law school or not.  Because EVERYONE in law school knows that people dump unused and unnecessary books in the halls, on tables, in the cafeteria, etc.  They do at my school at least.

However, as your ability to grasp what people write is so amazing, if anyone is able to go around and find the combinations to every locker in the school (what Giff seemed to think I was advocating?) then I'd love to know how you did it.

Giffy has a crush on me.  He follows *all* my threads.  <sigh>  Lincoln is a close second.  It's very flattering. 

Book Sales and Trades / Re: Chris Laurel's tips on books and supplements
« on: January 24, 2006, 11:58:55 PM »
Lincoln shows his education level with the language he uses.  He's also upset becaused on every one of my threads I have spanked his child-like ability to not provide any reasoning and arguments, but just attack and name call.

It's kind of cute that he holds himself out so publicly as someone who has so little to say.  These people exist.  They even run our government.

You miss the point of law school. It is not to teach you the law, but instead to teach you how to understand legal reasoning. With the exception of civpro most other areas of the law differ from state to state and circuit to circuit. It would simply serve to confuse if law schools tried to teach you all the law. Beside being d**mn near impossible, it would serve no use.  Thatís what you learn when get out of school pick a practice area and a practice location.

The purpose of BLL in law school is to provide a framework for learning to understand legal reasoning. Same with cases. We are essentially operating in an artificial legal world created by the prof and the casebook. In this world we are expected, with guidance, to look at statutes, rules, and cases and come to an understanding of how the law works. Hopefully this will allow us to do the same when we graduate and go to work, whether at a firm, or on our own.

By the way one of the reasons that exams are structured the way they are is so that grades can be a reflection of your ability to do good work quickly and with no rewrites. While a firm will no doubt train you, I know for a fact that a firm would prefer a person who can think for themselves understand legal reasoning and does not need to always have a another chance then someone who does.

You're wrong - we cover every topic imagineable.  If what you say is true, then there would be no need to learn Worker's Compensation in Torts unless we planned to practice it.  Think about all the crap you learn in Property that you will never revisit. Why do we learn the intricacies of Crim Law if we are only in school to learn legal reasoning?  What school do you go to that you don't know this? 

In fact, that is how most other countries do it.  A doctorate program in law is reserved for those who want to specialize or go on to academia.  So that makes your first paragraph wrong.

"By the way one of the reasons that exams are structured the way they are is so that grades can be a reflection of your ability to do good work quickly and with no rewrites."  That's not how law is practiced, Giffy, and why would having MORE exams detract from that, anyway?  Giving us more exams allows for a learning curve; allows us to see problems we did not see before.  This happens in law practice when a senior looks at your work.  That's how the real world works.  Face it, law is a business now and we don't go out of school and hang up our shingle as solo practitioners.  We don't show up as first year associates in front of judges or in front of clients not having someone else check our work.  And if we do, we are at crap asbestos firms, and the like.

Anyone who knows anything about writing knows that "writing is re-writing"  You can Google that phrase if you wish, to see its inherent truth.  The notion that BAM! we produce something well-written on the first draft is something grade school children think, not adults. 

Well Norm, since you are so knowledgable, why don't you enlighten us as to why?  Giving qualifications without arguments doesn't evidence a successful attorney, even if you are an "agent."

"Your honor, I am an attorney, and I am right.  Thank you and good day."

And then also explain why, when so few attorneys are involved in litigation, we should be taught as if we are going to be litigators?  And then explain why even if we were to be litigators, why TAs would not serve the same role as senior associates, helping to guide junior associates in their work.

Very few attorneys ever argue in front of a judge.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 24, 2006, 11:15:30 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."

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 24, 2006, 10:54:48 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

General Board / Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« on: January 24, 2006, 10:50:22 PM »
That's great not to be concerned about the big firms giffy, but many people work at them because we have to take out loans that could buy homes, and the big firms are the only places to go to pay them back.

Your view is myopic.

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