Noon-Thirty News 06/28/10

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28th, 2010 by bl1y

Grab Yer Guns!
[WSJ Law Blog]

In the McDonald v. Chicago case, the Court has extended the Second Amendment to the States.

What more is there to say?  Grab your gun, and bring in the cat.

Law Firms Wage War on Hospitality
[Time]

Back in the good ol’ days, the summers of ’06 and ’07, the hospitality industry could look forward to a boost every summer as law firms spent gobs of money on lavish cruises, dinners, and other outings, sometimes spending tens of thousands of dollars on a single event.

Now, most firms are spending anywhere between half and a third of their previous budgets.  The real fallout is that with less money being poured into expensive outings, there’s less chance for socially awkward summer associates to wine and dine girls out of their league on the firm’s dime. (Admit it, you know you’ve been at an event after party, bought shots for a girl you just met, and put it on the firm’s tab.)

This is Why You Work Weekends
[The American Lawyer via Law.com]

It’s not because there’s so much work to do, it’s because your boss has had no training in managing personnel, case loads, or client expectations.  Your boss is your boss because they either have seniority, or made it rain, not because of any sort of managerial talent.  And now, one professor is speaking out about it:

The most crucial challenges for our society and our profession involve issues of leadership; the need for leaders with vision, integrity and wisdom has never been greater. Yet our system of legal education does little to produce them.

But, it’s not just any professor blaming law schools for failing to produce graduates with leadership potential.  It’s Deborah Rhode, Director of the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession.  She joins a growing list of law professors speaking out about the poor quality of education at law schools.  Unfortunately, there’s not yet a list of professors who have taken active steps towards improving their school.  A little less conversation, a little more action, please.

Once You Go Black, They Drop the Charges?
[Washington Times]

Remember these assholes?

Seems like standing outside of a voting place, wearing a combat boots and the insignia of a militant organization while wielding some sort of night stick or billy club is a pretty open and shut case of voter intimidation.  J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney who worked on the case is now openly discussing the corruption that went into the dismissal of the charges:

Some of my co-workers argued that the law should not be used against black wrongdoers because of the long history of slavery and segregation. Less charitable individuals called it “payback time.” Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section.

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Reason Not to Go to Law School #12

Posted in Reasons Not to Go to Law School on January 13th, 2010 by bl1y

Useless Classes.

I’m not talking about the classes that are supposed to be useful but ultimately fail, I’m talking about the ones that don’t even purport to be useful. BitterLawyer.com ran a bit on this a while ago, highlighting 11 worthless classes, and I thought I’d revisit the topic, but see just how much crap I could churn up by limiting myself to only the Spring 2010 classes at the Top 5 schools.

Yale

Book of Job and Injustice. Not a class about injustice in the job market, but a class on how to use the Biblical Book of Job to understand injustice in the world. The class is basically “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” This was one of the many topics we covered in my philosophy of religion class in undergrad, which is precisely where it belongs.

Ethics in Literature. I understand the importance of having classes in legal ethics, and why some students are interested in Law and Literature (because they’re book nerds and it looks like an easy class), but Ethics in Literature? This class would be a thousand times more effective if you just cut out the books and discussed some of the more complex or intriguing ethical dilemmas (legal or otherwise) thought have been thought up during centuries of philosophical circle jerks.

Harvard

Democracy Of, By, and For the People: Reading Group. This is a class on “(1) community life, (2) self governance, and (3) accountability to the common good,” which requires students to “prepare periodic ‘one-pagers’ on mutually agreed upon topics.” Flimsy topic? Bullshit assignments? Sign me up!

Great Books: Reading Group. “This reading group is meant to be an antidote. Nowadays, law students arrive at law school having read less and less history and literature.” So what’s Harvard’s solution to this? Reading and discussing one “great book,” Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a book so great you’ve probably never heard of it. At least the class is only worth one credit. In my English Honors Seminar we read The Iliad, The Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Tom Jones, and Moby Dick. That’s how you make up for a lack of exposure to literature and history. Not with a class where “Soft drinks, wine, cheese and so forth will be provided.”

Jewish Law’s Response to Gentile Law: Internal Views of External Influences: Advanced Reading Group. Holy Moses, what a freaking waste of time. The class will “explore the language Jewish law uses to describe its own perception of its relation to Gentile law.” It’s not even a class on Jewish law, it’s a class on the linguistics of Jewish law. And what makes this an “advanced” reading group? You must be able to read Hebrew to attend. In other words: Only God’s chosen people are allowed.

The Past and Future of the Left. We all know universities tend to lean liberal, and law schools are no exception. But this class is quite literally about how students can get the party of “greater equality and empowerment” to overcome its current internal conflicts.

Stanford

Law and Creativity: Fiction and Nonfiction. I almost didn’t read this one, thinking it would be a class on intellectual property. But, I’m sure glad I did. This class is broken down into two components; in the first students “examine and discuss creative treatments of legal and professional issues in a variety of media (including film, fiction, and nonfiction),” and in the second they “submit their own fiction and creative nonfiction pieces for group discussion.” Basically, it’s watching A Few Good Men followed by a creative writing workshop where you’re critiqued by people with little or no creative writing background.

Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Another wonderful reading group brought to you by America’s higher education system. This is pure discussion group, no lecture. And to make sure it is extra useless to lawyers, enrollment is capped at 16 students, and only half of those may be from the law school.

Columbia

Biblical Jurisprudence. Every school seems to have these worthless Bible classes. This noe is sure to prepare you for legal practice by exploring topics such as “the meaning of wars of extermination in the biblical narrative” and “the binding of Isaac as it relates to other practices of sacrifice.” In other words, it’s a class that explores the bad stuff Jews did in the old testament. Or, as Profs. Fletcher and D-Kal call it, “the OT.”

Leadership for Lawyers: “This course examines the responsibilities and challenges of lawyers who occupy leadership roles in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.” Hint: It’s exactly the same as the responsibilities and challenges of non-lawyers who occupy leadership roles in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

New York University

Retribution in Criminal Law Theory & Practice. The class basically centers around one question, should we use criminal sanctions for retribution, rehabilitation, or deterrence? Doesn’t sound too terribly useless until the end of the course description: “The seminar includes in its pedagogy experiments in freeing creative voice through weekly writing and theatre exercises and includes a close study of philosophy, history, psychoanalysis, novels, and plays.”

What. The. Fuck?

The Passion of the Christ: The Trial of Jesus. “For serious learners. Tons to read and plenty of hard work. Do not enroll just for curiosity.” I think that’s code for “This is a bullshit class, but I’m trying desperately to make people think I’m a serious academic.”

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