Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Chris Laurel

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5]
41

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. 

42
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.

43
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.

44
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?


45
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. 

46
Current Law Students / Demand more tests! Demand teaching assistants!
« on: January 05, 2006, 04:52:24 PM »
The full letter I have prepared to my dean and the American Bar Association is here:
http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/law-school-story.html

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.

47
Current Law Students / The Fact Is, Profs Don't Use The Socratic Method
« 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!

48
http://accuracyblog.blogspot.com

"Everything will change. The only question is growing up or decaying."
--Nikki Giovanni

Dear Dean,

If you read any one thing I write in my three years in law school, please take time to read this. Below I explain: the problem with the juris doctor program as a reflection of the problems our society experiences and the solution for students and professors.

1. Enlightenment and legal education via boot camp methods what's the basis?

We do not fix our own problems: In 1993 an AALS report on the rampant drug and alcohol abuse at American law schools shocked the legal community. It shouldn't have. A 1999 study in Notre Dame Magazine found that "lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates." Excessively long hours continue to harm our families and quality of life. We harm our communities when we work ourselves like mules, disallowing engagement in society. When an attorney abandons law they do so as a rebirth of their human spirit. Those who endure often become embittered, humorless, or turn to destructive law school coping mechanisms ("We know [law school] is where they start," said New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye. "This is the last bastion before they begin in the legal profession."):

    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. [Notre Dame Magazine, Autumn 1999]



In 2003 a follow-up to the 1993 report found no improvement and noted that law school faculty are not immune from the problems of substance abuse. In 2005 a Dean told me in her office that change takes time. How much time do we need?

How we learn has no bearing on how we practice. If law school mirrored legal practice then six partners would oversee 100 first year associates, give them general instruction for six separate transactions or cases, and expect if they do not understand they will ask every question necessary to complete an assignment correctly. Only when the partner, the client and all opposing counsel meet to close the deal would the first year associate's work be fully reviewed. If he or she did one thing incorrectly the wrong name on a filed UCC, for instance the deal would not close. The junior attorney would be asked to leave. Business transactions would slow to a crawl.

This is how law school operates. There are no "senior associates" involved. My theories for this "boot camp" martyr mentality are unimportant, though note the US alone requires a three year program at crushing cost to educate aspiring attorneys. In most other countries law is an undergraduate program, followed by a bar-type test and apprenticeship.

End-of-course review sessions are more accurately "Q&A's." Professors expect students to prepare to pepper them with questions germane to the main themes of the course. Students expect the professor to prepare a broad overview of their year-long course, with hints as to what is important. Q&A's are inefficient and frustrating for everyone involved.

2. 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.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5]