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Messages - Chris Laurel

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Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 17, 2006, 01:50:53 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. 

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 17, 2006, 01:32:46 AM »
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. 


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.

General Board / Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« on: January 17, 2006, 01:17:40 AM »
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, from your law firms.

We are all some of the smartest in the country.  We have knowledge people envy, and we know how to argue.  We are all PAYING for the education.  So why do we feel we DESERVE to be treated like military boot camp recruits?  Why do we female private part out when it comes to respect for our lives, for what we have achieved, for our families.  Why?  So that we can better ourselves through education and a career?  So that we can work to change society, like we did in the 1960's? 

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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 17, 2006, 01:01:50 AM »
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.

No offense, but you guys have no idea what the practice of law is like. 

First, both of the last comments only apply to those who plan on litigation careers.  That is a very small percentage of lawyers who ever argue in front of a judge.

Second, for the last comment, what you advocated NO WAY MIRRORS THE PRACTICE OF LAW for the majority of those who go on to practice.  Even at smaller firms you have a senior partner or a senior attorney overlooking your work, available to comment on your mistakes or answer any questions that would prevent mistakes.  By the time you are judged on your work, you've had people with far more experience checking it.  Typically, not always.  But for most of us, that will be the case.  Unless you are a solo practitioner, something NOBODY fresh out of law school undertakes, unless they are retarded.   

Regardless, between corporate law, arbitration, mediation, and all the other varieties of law, having to prepare a case you present to a judge is a very small percentage of those who practice of law, and most of us will never experience it in our careers. 

Even if we did, we would not be left to fumble endlessly and compete for one person's attention with 100 other students/lawyers.  It makes no sense.

I've worked in law at the second largest law firm in the world for six years.  I know how it goes out there.  Law school makes no sense.  You'll find that out if you do not know it yet.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 14, 2006, 03:29:40 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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 11, 2006, 04:01:47 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

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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 11, 2006, 11:18:36 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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 11, 2006, 02:40:47 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:

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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 06, 2006, 05:43:41 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:

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".

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