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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 06, 2006, 05:37:40 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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 06, 2006, 05:22:27 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. 

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 06, 2006, 02:00:05 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)


it's amazing how much some posts remind me of Hawaii.....

Mahalo (and to think I used to think that meant trash)

Yeah, aloha, I think what you are doing now is called "trolling" because I've spanked you on the Socratic Method board. 

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 05, 2006, 11:34:50 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
Thomas Adcock
New York Law Journal

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:


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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 05, 2006, 11:28:19 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.

Socratic Method / Re: The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« on: January 05, 2006, 09:08:22 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?

I'm not spamming the board.  Every single post I've put up is relevant to that topic and a brand new post I wrote.  That's not spam, just because I include a link in each one. 

Studying and Exam Taking / Demand more tests! Demand teaching assistants!
« on: January 05, 2006, 06:52:24 PM »
The full letter I have prepared to my dean and the American Bar Association is here:

Below is the last part, the way to fix the majority of the problems at American Law Schools:

3. Time to fight the inertia: an easy fix

America keeps crashing the same car: we never fix problems (racism, disaster preparation, destroyed cities, etc.). Our attorneys will argue for major changes in laws to benefit a client or society, yet we fight tooth and nail efforts to fix our own problems, despite evidence of where this road to ruin leads. "I had to suffer, so should you," is the mentality of many alum. Despite their discontented careers, unpleasant memories, and all evidence to the contrary, they cling to the delusion it helps our careers and characters. It does not. Ask any third year associate.

Without doubt, students need to be tested more. Only then will grades accurately reflect abilities. Staggered exams evidence improvement and alert students of problems before it is too late.

Three exams (25%, 25%, 50%) will be required for three-credit classes and above. One exam per course produces extreme anxiety; a cold at the wrong time will send an over-stressed student over the edge. Multiple tests inspire motivation, incentivize continuous preparation, mitigate procrastination, and therefore better educates students. Star performers will continue to shine. Multiple exams expose topical weaknesses and strengths which may or may not be important to an employer's hiring needs. We will provide records of all exams (not only finals) for use in interviews.

Professors also are stressed and grading more exams is anathema. We should follow other graduate schools and institute legal teaching assistant programs. The 3L year's usefulness is questionable but here to say. Let's make it substantive: those planning academic careers will benefit enormously from teaching assistant positions. So will professors: under their tutelage and close supervision TAs will grade the first two exams. Professors always grade the weighty final. 3L TAs will fill the role of senior associates; they are less intimidating and will provide great insight. They can also conduct comprehensive review sessions. If ABA rules prohibit any of this, we must convince them of the import to change tout suite.

Interestingly, lawyer-bashing caught fire in our culture only since the civil rights era, when lawyers greatly (and controversially) improved our democracy with cases that brought the Bill of Rights to the citizens of the several states (something that should have happened once John Bingham wrote the 14th Amendment with that intent). Those rightfully-won battles sadly remain unpopular, and will come under attack. Judge Alito's criticism of Reynolds v. Sims is proof. So-called Originalists on the Supreme Court vote most to overturn legislative acts.

Only lawyers are trained and educated in history and rhetoric to combat the distortions and lies (often crafted by our own) that are ruining America's public discourse. Outside the office our free time is focused on neglected families; there is no time to contribute honest and principled arguments to important issues facing the country. We work too many weekends: we are victimized by long hours and extraordinary debt. Law students excited about 2L summer jobs are sheltered from the reality that they jumped out of the pan of law school unhappiness and into the law firm fire of exhaustion. We could tolerate law firm culture longer if we didn't emerge miserable from an emotionally devastating education program that inaccurately measured ability and warped our self-worth.

We would enhance our reputation and firms will love that our more accurate grades aid their recruitment goals. The stakes are too high to continue on this pointless road to ruin. You have the power to help effect a small change with enormous and immediate benefits. We must stop unnecessarily beating our country's most talented and driven.

Book Sales and Trades / Chris Laurel's tips on books and supplements
« on: January 05, 2006, 06:29:03 PM »
First, if any of you are not checking or eBay, or whatever to see if you can find your books, then you are blowing money out the window. 

All you need is the author name, or the ISBN number, etc., which the Prof supplies to you anyway.  On the Internet book sellers are many students JUST LIKE YOU who listed their old books hoping to get out of the Barnes & Noble buyback rip-off.  Yeah, they probably run your bookstore.

Go Amazon, buy their used ones first.  Save a bundle.  Help students like you.

DO NOT BUY HORNBOOKS RIGHT AWAY, or study guides, etc.  Remember, you want to find the study guide specifically geared toward your book, or written by its author.  That means you only have ONE available.  And any of the Legalines, Caselines, whatever lines books are fine.  Better, use your free Lexis account and look the cases up there - they have all the basic facts AND all the Lexis notes.  Better than a case line book - seriously. 

You can find tons of people willing to kick them your way, often free, who never even used them.  Sometimes you can find them abandoned in the halls of the school, left in lockers.  Don't waste the money.

If there is a *MUST* have (mind you *everyone* has the *MUST* have guide) then go out and buy it.  But maybe also look on Amazon and to see how people rate the guide before you buy it.  See what other people say about other guides.  You'll be thankful.

Don't forget, go forth with the knowledge that American law schools have a lot of problems.  Here is the main problem, and how to fix it:


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