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Author Topic: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL  (Read 108927 times)

nagainagainagain

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2005, 04:27:28 AM »
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"Perhaps ironically," Krieger says, "research shows that the general distress and depression among law students is not mitigated by high grades, nor is dissatisfaction among lawyers mitigated by high salaries."

Obviously! I mean, people do not want to become lawyers for the big bucks!

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[...] He explains that the primary thrust of legal education teaching students how to think like a lawyer is so pervasive that students and lawyers alike find themselves analyzing everything in their lives, at the expense of relationships, values, and spirituality.

Althou I think I understand what the author means here, anyone's interpretation would be appreciated ;)

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And when they feel the loss of things they used to hold dear, they typically keep their feelings bottled up. "There's a code of silence in the profession," Keeva says. "There's this fear of looking soft.

That fear is very real and I can already see so many students at my school opening up once I throw some "forbidden" word/idea ... it breaks my heart to see so many of my fellow students being desperately insecure and @ # ! * e d - u p by the whole law school experience!

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While the practice of law is about relationships, Floyd explains, legal education devalues relationships and other emotional matters. "It is not just that we fail to teach students about relationship skills," she says. "Legal education actually diminishes or eliminates the ability to form and sustain relationships that students possess when they begin law school."

I am not surprised by this -- do they not say that the typical law student is a loser who has no life?!

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The idea that lawyers help clients real people with real problems drops off the radar screen.

I don't know about others, but when I started law school I did not think law/lawyering was about helping clients.

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Professor Barbara Glessner Fines of the University of Missouri-Kansas City reports that some faculty members equate humanizing legal education with lowering standards. "If you talk about lowering expectations, they say you're coddling into the profession people who aren't cut out for it," she says. "They say, 'If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.' But why can't you put a fan in the kitchen?"

I am not that sure about this fan thing! I mean, why not destroy the kitchen and eliminate for good the heat it produces?!

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Even schools that attract the brightest legal minds in the nation could use a fan in the kitchen. A student essay in the Harvard Law Review in 1998 reported that by the second year, "a surprising number of Harvard Law students resemble 'the walking wounded': demoralized, dispirited, and profoundly disengaged from the law school experience. What's more, by third year, a disturbingly high number of students come to convey a strong sense of impotence and little inclination or enthusiasm for meeting the world's challenges head on." [...] "Students think they were wrong about what law is all about," she says. "They think their initial vision was naive, so they have to give it up." That leads to a deep sense of loss and a numbing resignation to the system.

Well, I guess that's the kind of obedient puppy that's needed as cook for that kitchen to function!

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"The older-school professors believed that first year should be like boot camp tough as nails, and professors should never be nice to students," he says.

I say make the first year of law school absolutely horrendous -- I mean, you've got these students who'll become lawyers one day with some of them becoming the sort of state actors who will not hesitate to kill, cage, and impoverish their fellow citizens on what are deemed institutionally appropriate occasions ... How can you afford to treat 'em nicely?!

yournightmare

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2005, 09:18:57 PM »
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This involves close inspection of words and writing to look for defects in an adversary's position or which may create future problems for a client. It is fundamentally negative, critical, pessimistic, and depersonalizing.

This is the way I already think.  That's why I decided to go to law school in the first place.  I'm cold-hearted, analytical, and always looking for faults in people's writings/speeches/logic.  That's just the way I am.  I start law school in January, do you think I'll do OK?  I sure do.

So, in my view, it's not much of a loss to either society as a whole or me personally.

It's a big loss to society through time taken off work, lost productivity, chemical dependency, hospitalizations, etc.

lipper

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #42 on: December 22, 2005, 02:09:39 AM »
perhaps its the types of students that law school attracts are prone to these feelings. maybe its not law school at all, its the most of the students.
check the footnotes ya'll

asitis

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2005, 12:26:04 AM »
here it is a relevant, hell of a thread I found on the kids' board

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,38636.0.html

magnolia theater

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2005, 12:36:09 AM »
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4) Thinking "like a lawyer": Defining people primarily according to their legal rights, and trying to understand, prevent and resolve problems by applying legal rules to those rights, usually in a zero-sum manner. This involves close inspection of words and writing to look for defects in an adversary's position or which may create future problems for a client. It is fundamentally negative, critical, pessimistic, and depersonalizing. This method of thinking is conveyed and understood in law schools as a new and superior way of thinking, not a strictly limited legal tool.

We call it thinking "like an ass".

pleaseacceptme24

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #45 on: December 26, 2005, 02:54:59 AM »
I haven't been to law school yet, but allow me to venture this question. Could the stress of law school, particuarly 1L, have less to do with the volume or rigour of the material and more to do with the lack of feedback through homework assignments, quizes, and midterms that students are used to from their undergraduate days, and that helped them adapt and modify their study habits and techniques? I imagine having to suddenly plunge into a totally new field with tons of reading material and without knowing much about how well you're doing until the final would be incredibly stressful even on people who aren't "whiny", "lazy", or "cowardly", as well as on people who do not need to be "spoon-fed" the material during lecture by their professors. I don't know if 1L really is like that, but that's what I've gathered from reading these boards so far.

I also want to add something to the debate over whether these statistics are due to law school itself or due to the type of students who are attracted to law school. The study posted by the OP says law students come into law school happier and healthier psychologically than other students entering other graduate or professional schools, and concludes from that the subsequent decline in happiness and well-being is due to the law school experience. I think, though, that the "above-average happiness" they experience prior to entering law school is possibly due to the excitement and boost in their self-esteem that they get from being accepted at highly selective institutions after a terribly competitive application process. These students may still very well be more prone to panic, competitiveness, and depression than the average.

ociciornie

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #46 on: December 26, 2005, 09:07:39 AM »


1) The top-ten percent tenet: The belief that success in law school is demonstrated solely by high grades, appointments to law review, etc.

2) The contingent-worth problem: The belief that one's personal worth, the opinions of teachers and potential employers, and therefore one's happiness and security in life depend on one's place in the academic hierarchy. Although academic rankings are present in all educational settings, in law school these considerations dominate collective thinking and become identified with personal worth.

3) The American dream: The belief that financial affluence, influence, recognition and other external symbols of achievement are what is good in life, and that academic success in law school will lead to these things.

4) Thinking "like a lawyer": Defining people primarily according to their legal rights, and trying to understand, prevent and resolve problems by applying legal rules to those rights, usually in a zero-sum manner. This involves close inspection of words and writing to look for defects in an adversary's position or which may create future problems for a client. It is fundamentally negative, critical, pessimistic, and depersonalizing. This method of thinking is conveyed and understood in law schools as a new and superior way of thinking, not a strictly limited legal tool.

These beliefs and thought processes have an atomistic worldview and a zero-sum message about life. Nothing much matters beyond winning or losing, and there is always a loser for each winner. The message for law students is to work very, very hard; excel in the competition for grades and honors; to feel good about accomplishments; get the respect of peers and teachers; get a desirable job; and be successful. As a result, fatigue and anxiety replaces initial enthusiasm, particularly leading up to the point of the posting of first-term grades.


I can understand the "need" for grading on a curve on the part of law schools ... I mean, it makes sense for the law school as a financial institution. Not to mention that law schools are expected by employers to rate the meat and impose a kind of slightly paranoid mindset that is very receptive to structural authority/hierarchy. But even the law schools themselves can not pretend the current system of grading represent a "fair" way of measuring the student's knowledge of their courses' content against a neutral baseline.  And I'm not particularly interested in offering arguments to justify this or in helping the law schools make more money

The curve encourages laziness in both professors and students. I hope that our professors, if faced with a brilliant class that "got" more of the material relative to other years or relative to an absolute scale would feel a deep and abiding sense of shame at handing out the exact same percentage of grades year after year. Unfortunately, I think none of them, even the self-styled radicals, will do anything about it. 


depositlaw

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2005, 02:03:02 AM »
Law school is only crappy if you thought it would be fun by itself.  But there's always interesting people (especially foreign LLM students), and you're still usually on a college campus with a free gym membership.  And then, there's traditionally only ONE TEST PER CLASS and no homework all semester.  Compared to any other professional degree, law is the easiest and least demanding.  Your med school buddies are pulling 10 hour rotations by your last year, while you might be waking up at noon.  If you can't enjoy law school, you can't enjoy anything.

And if you rent or rented an apartment in Illinois, visit http://www.depositlaw.com to learn how your Illinois - and especially Chicago - landlord might owe you money

daverickert

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2005, 03:49:38 AM »
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4) Thinking "like a lawyer": Defining people primarily according to their legal rights, and trying to understand, prevent and resolve problems by applying legal rules to those rights, usually in a zero-sum manner. This involves close inspection of words and writing to look for defects in an adversary's position or which may create future problems for a client. It is fundamentally negative, critical, pessimistic, and depersonalizing. This method of thinking is conveyed and understood in law schools as a new and superior way of thinking, not a strictly limited legal tool.

We call it thinking "like an ass".

;)

Grotos

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Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2005, 01:25:17 AM »
yawn

That bottle of gin starting to hit ya?