Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today in Military Law - 2/19/09

Prof. JAG: “What if you're a pilot who has to eject, and you start thinking ‘man, these guys are going to come after me when I hit the ground’? So you pull out your 9mm on the way down and start shooting at an anti-aircraft emplacement. What’s your legal status then?”

Student: “Dead.”

Prof. JAG: “Skeet.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today in Products Liability

Heard while discussing a textbook problem re: a case involving a kid who got hurt on a playground:

Student: "We need to bring back more biological Darwinism. These plaintiffs are the same parents who put 8 inches of clothes on their kids when they see snow flurries. They need to get over themselves and just let their kids get hurt a little bit."

Prof: "Well, this kid has brain damage...I'm not sure if they can afford to let him get hurt like that."

Student: "He won't do it again, will he?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rebuttal: It's Not My Ass that Needs to Be Moving

My dear friend, Fawkes, brought up a good point. Grades aren't everything. He is right. This is why the law school publishes a photo-directory that is disseminated to potential employers: If you don't have good grades, just be a hot girl and you are fine.

This theory is particularly strong for 1L OCIs. Think about it, as a first-year, you may have a Lexis or Westlaw "certification" that you received for going to some pizza lunch, but other than that, you probably don't know how to research anything other than a case. In fact, you probably omit the space between "So." and "2d," among other grievous errors. It comes down to this: the quality in actual know how (not taking into account potential and ability to develop) of a 1L is the same, almost, from #1 to bottom of the class. So if you are getting the same amount of competence from a first-year, why not hire a hot female 1L? I would! Employers my first year overlooked me for hot low-ranked females.

Now, if you're not a female and you have low grades... you should probably look for what your Career Service Office calls "Alternative Legal Jobs." This includes anything from being an insurance adjuster to a congressional staffer with a redundant five-word job title to describe opening and stuffing envelopes.

Trust me, if there's some ass that needs to be moving, I'm going to be the moving it.

A Reply: The Elegant, Obvious Solution to 1L Self-Loathing

I originally posted this as a comment to Phaedrus' immediately preceding post, but it became too long to be a comment on a post:

Phaedrus, you still have it all wrong. Grades and class rank only have a HIGHLY tenuous correlation to intelligence, writing ability, and logical thinking.

The only way to make the correlation strong enough to be statistically significant, thereby making it a genuinely useful indicator of something practical (other than for employers who just want the "type" that is usually at the top of the class), is to extend the timeline over a period of many, many years (decades?). Even then, good luck controlling for all those spurious causes that arise during the intervening period.

That's all a (general) statistical way of saying "grades and class rank don't say jack shit about the individual, and they don't really even say much about the overall class." You know this.

My solution to the school-related issues these 1Ls are experiencing is simple: just. give. up. You know, as Fight Club and The Postal Service might say. Stop struggling. Accept it, and the benefits will come, including higher grades for a lot of people.

Everyone (me more than most...) is going to rage against "the system" of law school/the profession, but it's better to stop allowing it to get in your head as early as possible. Critique it, spot the flaws, whatever, because they exist in abundance...just don't allow it to drive you insane.

Bottom line: they'll get over it. Move your own ass to another table. Better yet, stop doing your non-law review work at school like a good 3L. ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

1L YaYas are Starting to Annoy Me...Really

Congratulations, you survived first semester. It was a traumatic experience... I remember. Then again, I slacked off, partied ostentatiously before exams (still do) and still kicked ass. That's just what I do. So you didn't do as well as you wanted? Well, really you should have taken my advice ("know it all and you'll be fine, works every time").

So what are 1Ls doing? They're being little bitches.

As far as I know, they are going out and buying a pair of jeans and wearing them and having life changing experiences and then mailing them to their other 1L friends to do the same. There is this whole YaYa sisterhood going on with the 1Ls. They have formed these really annoying, pathetic, and vain support groups. "It's okay, I did poorly too...but, we're going to study together in the law school atrium, then starbucks, and then at Phaedrus's table. We're going to work hard, struggle, achieve, persevere and we're going to raise our GPA & Classrank and then make law review, then work at biglaw, and then work 40 hours a week and retire early." Well, at least the GPA thing. I can't figure out why this annoys me so, other than it is completely pathetic. It's childish. It's futile. It's taking away my study table. It's really just a lame excuse for the friend who really needs a boyfriend to feel better about herself.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about goals: setting them, achieving them, exceeding them. Just don't take my table. Get a life, watch Grey's Anatomy together like most normal girls, go buy new nike running shorts that never get used for running, or even (Gasp) try to go on a date. Despite the feel good talk professors give you this time of the year about grades, grades are pretty much locked in. First you are graded on a curve--it really puts you in your place. While there is usually an exception or two, this is usually an exception or two--it's not Good Will Hunting. Even if you come to school, clean the floors, think you're smarter than everyone else, and do complex math/legal problems on the board, you're probably not the exception. Second, people at the top of the class are usually smarter than you. What does this mean? It means they know better than to take graded classes. The whole art of law school is taking 75% ungraded classes and 25% guaranteed A's... this locks in your GPA and Class rank.

Long story short, the Law School Traveling Pants YaYa Studygroup Sisterhood should get a life, a boyfriend, or disband. I don't really care, just do one.