Just a reminder of all the fun you could have at AALS. The link is here.
How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? How are the elves? I hope you are faring better with climate change up at the North Pole than the Polar Bears.
I have been extra good this year. I have not given any “Fs,” abused students, or yelled at colleagues. I have even restrained from rolling my eyes when people annoy me.
You may wonder what I want for the holidays. Last year, I asked you for a bike. Thank you for that. This year, I want something that will not only help me, but also my students and colleagues.
I want a benevolent monopolist. I know that sounds entirely like an oxymoron. I know that it sounds like it can’t possibly exist, but I’ve heard of little children asking you for unicorns. I’m not proud.
See, today, I was thinking. There appears to be a lot of articles saying “there are too many lawyers and not enough jobs.” And then there are articles saying just how wonderful it is to be in law school. Given that law school is so rewarding, and that there just aren’t enough jobs for all those people seeking a rewarding career, something has to be done. It seems hopeless.
It’s like the BP oil spill. Something went wrong. There was a flood of lawyers, and that flooding has been reduced but really hasn’t stopped. And where was the blowout preventer? Where was the gatekeeper?
We need a hero. Someone to save us from this marketplace.
We need a benevolent monopolist.
You may think that you have already given me this gift, Mr. Kringle. Perhaps you think that the ABA is an organization that seems like a good fit for that which I ask. Sadly, St. Nick, it isn’t. First of all, it doesn’t seem very benevolent to me. In my opinion, it is starting to have a track record of wanting to hurt us poor law professors.
But the real problem is that the ABA isn’t really a monopolist. The ABA should have been the blowout preventer here. Instead, it accredits law schools like blowout preventers stop oil spills in the Gulf. It doesn’t. We don’t need more law schools. Most likely, given the recession and decline in admissions, we will see fewer law schools.
It hasn’t even attempted to fix the quality of legal education. You can’t get a good quality education in a degree mill. The ABA doesn’t go after the schools causing this problem. It refuses to use its powers of oversight over the quality of legal education!
No Santa, the ABA is a defective toy. I can’t get it to work! : (
I think the ABA is afraid. It has hurt before by the antitrust bug. It was subject to a consent decree for being naughty. But everyone knows that those types of antitrust cases are dead. You can Google that.
It won’t even use its lobbying powers successfully to get after the whole issue of exporting jobs overseas. Many law jobs are being offshored. It’s time someone did something about that.
So, you see, Santa, that the ABA is not the benevolent monopolist I want. In terms of wielding its monopoly, it’s doing as good a job as OPEC.
Maybe you think that you’ve already given me this gift in terms of the State Bars. You would think that the state bars would get involved. They are quite used to restricting entry via the bar exam. Surely they can just decrease the bar passage rate and thereby limit the number of lawyers in each state. Of course, the problem is interstate competition and the market for legal services. Sigh.
The State Bars could help solve the problem, Santa. We all know that the bar exam doesn’t test whether or not you are really fit to practice law. It only tests whether or not you paid BarBri a few grand, and whether you can take multiple choice and essay exams. Really, haven’t students already done that? The State Bars could alter their Bar Exams in a way that would force students and law schools to really focus on what students need to know to practice law. But then again, I worry that the State Bars do not really meet the “benevolent” portion of my requirement. I could see this power being abused.
Maybe you think you’ve already given me benevolent monopolists in the form of law schools. With all due respect, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. First of all, there is a problem with law schools colluding. We’ll call that the antitrust laws. From what I hear, it appears to be okay by the enforcement agencies if large firms dominate a market, but NOT okay for people to get together to collude and pretend they are large firms. That’s posing, I guess. Regardless, it would never work out, because the incentives are too disparate between the schools.
I understand if the gift I want is just too difficult to make. In which case, I want the elimination of U.S. News and World Report rankings and BarBri. Okay, okay. No unicorns, no matter how much they would benefit society. Maybe you could just give me an iPhone that makes phone calls and doesn’t drop signal.
I bet you’re asking why I always ask the impossible of you. It’s because I believe in you.
In support of a recent New York Times Op-Ed.
I’m a law professor, and I’m proud of it. Really. We really need to stop this nonsense of you all thinking that only having a 50% shot at a job after graduation is a problem. You all are really just wusses.
First of all, if you have a shoddy chance at getting a job, you’ll feel SO much more appreciative of having one. If we just gave you one (and I don’t mean in our law library to boost our rankings), then you will just be resentful. But if after a short period of homelessness and despair you get a job, you’ll be thankful! See? Law school is worth it!
What follows? Well, if you are REALLY lucky, you’ll work for a major law firm! They’ll make you work (and you’ll love working 120 hours a week for a law firm that will treat you like dirt). But you’ll make money to cover your student loan debt, and that’s what counts. Unless they merge and lay you off.
And, I’m tired of the LAME stream media, bloggers, and people named Campos talking about Law Schools as if we are for-profit schools. Many of us have deficits now! And we are not seducing students into our buildings. Although some schools have really sexy new buildings.
All this LAME stream media talk of a bad lawyer job market has caused hysteria, particularly among deans of admission. A lot of really smart people are no longer thinking about going to law school. This is not to imply that if you’ve applied to law school recently that you aren’t smart. But those other smart people aren’t going. And that’s not smart!
Look, the job market is bad. I hear this all the time from recent alums as I order my Chai Tea Latte from them. If you look at some basic math, it will help. See, I’m going to take two points in time. There is this 1998 figure that shows that 55 percent of law graduates started in firms. And in 2011, that number was 50 percent. See? Not so bad! Of course, the fact that the rest of that pie chart shifted from federal government jobs to Starbucks and the fact that the starting salary for those in law firms has declined does not need to be mentioned because law students are notoriously bad at math!
And you shouldn’t even be thinking about first jobs! Law careers last 40 to 50 years, from graduation to your first stress-filled heart attack about billables or your firm merging with another and laying you off. The world turns, man, and you can’t just think about the first job which you don’t have yet! Moreover, we law schools teach creative problem solving, such as how to pay $125,000 in student loan debt when you only make $40,000. They will survive because we taught them well. Don’t forget to thank us in your next alumni donation!
And if you don’t go to law school, you’ll be filled with regret. Think you’ll be a doctor saving lives? Or maybe become an investment banker and steal from the American people twice (once through a bailout)? No. If I wave my magical statistical wand, you’ll see that if I look at historical averages over a long period of time, things look way better. Oooh. It’s like I’m an economist now! See the pretty picture? Much better than looking at the ugly short term and forecasting forward in light of technological and structural changes in the lawyer job market.
Yes, tuition has increased. If you compare it to med school, you’ll see that law school tuition only recently caught up to medical schools. No, don’t ask me if there is any reason why med school might reasonably cost more. I don’t know. I have stats on my side, though!
Debt is a huge, problem too. Law school grads have $125,000 in debt. But the average lawyer’s salary (in my mind and ignoring trends) is way better than that. You’d buy a house with that debt ratio. And someday in the distant future after you graduate someone who made that investment in equity maybe will buy one for you!
Investment in tuition is for your life’s career. (And the student loans are for life, too). There are many ways to get a return on investment. Such as a second job.
And don’t forget that the baby-boomers will retire someday. As more senior lawyers retire, mergers of law firms will occur, and their jobs won’t be replaced. Wait, I didn’t mean to say that. Logically, it makes sense if one person leaves a position, someone will have to replace him, right? It’s a circle of life kind of thing. You could be the next Simba! Doesn’t that sound much better?
Having wowed you with my statistics and mind-bending logic, let me tell a personal example with all the charm of a presidential candidate. A student we accepted needed to only borrow $5,000 a year. We gave her a generous package. She thought it would be stupid to borrow the money. And her 4.0 GPA and her perfect LSAT score indicated that she’s not stupid. Her short-sighted decision led her down another path, which I think is now the basis of the Broadway smash “Wicked.”
Sure, we law schools can be better. We are trying to figure out how to address problems. The biggest one is that people aren’t applying to law school as much because they aren’t understanding my logical, statistically flawless arguments.
Seriously, stop whining. Apply to law school. Trust me.
Future Dean, and Titanic Deck Chair Rearranger,
Now that I have all of my Festivus shopping finished, I thought I would take a moment away from the duties of my job (which I’m still in the process of defining) to discuss the worst holiday songs of all time. Here is my top ten:
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside. This song has all the makings of a sexual assault. She wants to leave, but he refuses to let her. Meanwhile, he’s drugging her. “Hey, what’s in this drink?” She’s completely captive “No cabs to be had out there!” Finally, with all the drugging and lacking in any means of transportation, she gives up in the end. Horrific song.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This is a song about collective bullying. They only accept him back into the fold because they needed him. They use him as a tool, after completely ostracizing him. A horrible lesson for children. Rather than build self-esteem, Rudolph seeks external validation by helping his North Pole oppressor and the thuggish reindeer who bully and shun him.
- Santa Claus is Coming To Town. Online privacy has nothing on Santa Claus. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He’s worse than Facebook or the FBI. It is also the worst in deterrence theory. Don’t be good because you feel a moral obligation to be good, but because you will be penalized. With Santa, the probability of being caught is 100%. The penalty: No presents. Really, Santa over-deters.
- Christmas Shoes. A kid, whose mom is in the hospital, is wandering around the mall right before Christmas day. No way that this doesn’t have CPS written all over it. Instead of attempting to save the boy, the narrator just pays for the kids shoes (probably to speed up the transaction). Nice way to pass the buck. The kid needed new clothes, at the very least. And clearly the boy was nowhere near any adult supervision.
- White Christmas and Let it Snow! These songs about wishing for snowfall are prophetic in terms of climate change.
- Last Christmas. Last Christmas, George Michael gave you his heart. The very next day, you regifted it! He promises that this year (to save him from tears) he’ll give it to someone special. But he doesn’t. EVERY single year, here he is, singing about his broken heart. Just keep it this year, George. Keep it.
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? “There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime.” You’re right. You do know that some of Africa is below the equator and it is summertime there, right? Also, while the majority of the population of the continent is Muslim, they aren’t stupid. Yes, they know it is Christmastime.
- Frosty The Snowman. Let’s face it. There is a great property question in terms of the hat, but really the problem is that Frosty is a jolly happy soul. How is he so happy? He doesn’t have any material possessions except a hat. He is either a zen Buddhist or there is some lesson in here about consumerism about which we should pay heed. That’s the good part of Frosty. The bad part is that these kids have no concept of “stranger danger.”
- 12 Days of Christmas. This song is sick, sick, sick. Look at the pattern:
Day 1: A partridge in a pair tree. Bird. Day 2: Two turtle doves. More birds. Day 3: Three French hens. Okay really, this song is about unoriginal Christmas gifts, with a bird theme. And let’s not forget the 4 calling birds, the 6 geese a laying and the 7 swans a swimming. Jeez.
What about the other gifts? There is the 8 maids a milking, with no mention about whether the true love gave the complement gift, the cows which are needed for milking. Then the true love apparently purchases Riverdance for our narrator, with 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords a leaping, 11 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming.
The outlier? You know this: Five gold rings.
This song is about consumerism run amok. The total cost of these gifts is well over $100,000, depending on the value of the rings and whether the cost of maintenance are included.
10. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. I have two interpretations of this song. The first is that this was a hit. I imagine that the ability to go in and out of places undetected makes Santa a pretty good mafia hitman. But then the lyrics suggest Santa isn’t a good hitman, as he left incriminating evidence. If this wasn’t a planned hit, I blame the children and grandchildren. You are letting grandma go home without an escort? The remaining lyrics clearly demonstrate their callous indifference to grandma. I’m thinking this was a murder set up to make Santa the fall guy. Hardly a holiday-appropriate song.
One of my fans sent me an op-ed he wrote called “The Vampires Always Bite.” I liked the premise of the piece, but, sorry dude, not the way it was written. With his permission, I’ve rewritten the piece, hopefully consistent with his original premise. I know, I know. That is SO interdisciplinary of me.
“Why did you run away from me, Edward? Why are you avoiding me? Do you hate me?” Bella asked after yet another teenage fitful fleeing by Edward out of high school chemistry class.
“No, I don’t hate you….I….have to resist you. Your scent is powerful. And you wear flannel. That’s hot. Or at least it was when Kurt Cobain ruled the airwaves.”
“What scent?” Bella asks Edward.
“Money. I love the smell of your money. I want to bite you.” Edward shutters.
“Bite me? Why?” asks Bella.
“You’re a consumer. You have money. I am a business vampire. I want as much money as possible. I mean, I’m out for blood. But I’m an ethical vampire. I am trying very hard not to bite you.” Edward confesses.
“You’re the vampire that doesn’t suck.” Bella nods.
“Yes. We just take what we need to live, and try not prey upon you. It would be easy too. See how sparkly I am when you look at me?”
“Yes. You do look very sparkly. Like an iPhone 5 or an iPad with a 7.9” screen. Shiny and new.”
“Exactly. It is our way of captivating you before we bite you.”
“You are mysterious and pasty white. And I am the paragon of a mopey teenager. I think I love you.” Bella says. “Hey, does vampire anatomy, um, work?”
“Well, we don’t have any blood flowing in us so it is highly unlike we could reproduce sexually, but this is a romance novel so don’t ask any questions.”
(The next morning after Bella reads a headline about deaths in the area, she asks Edward about it).
“It’s some other vampires.” Edward nods.
“I thought you said you don’t bite!” Bella says.
“Sometimes we do. We try to take care of it ourselves, through the Laissez-Faire Volturi.”
“What is that?”
“The free market. If vampires bite customers in an area too often the customers will just flee from them.”
“Does that work?”
“No. Sometimes nothing happens really. Sometimes customers don’t have a choice but to stay—that’s monopoly power. Sometimes they just feel they don’t have a choice, and will cling to even an incredibly inferior product.”
“iPhone.” Bella nods in understanding. “What are customers to do if business vampires are always biting them?”
“That’s when the werewolves come in.”
“Regulators. They assure that we don’t bite customers. If we do, they are programmed to bite our heads off thoroughly.”
“Who is that shirtless, ripped hunk over there, looking not entirely unlike lawprofblawg?” Asks Bella.
“He is Jacob. He’s a werewolf/regulator. If we bite anyone, he makes sure we get our heads bitten off.” Edward says. “Or at least that is what they are supposed to do.” Edward says.
“You mean they don’t sometimes?” Bella asks.
“No. A lot of times they are asleep. And often times vampires become werewolves and then head back to become vampires. They learn the secrets of the regulators, such as how to cut down on wind resistance when you are that hairy, and how to detect vampires. Sometimes when they are regulators, they can’t find it in their hearts to bite the heads off their former vampire friends. That’s called regulatory capture.” Edward says.
“Oh, I’ve heard of this. The mean, vicious werewolves who destroy the innocent vampires for no reason whatsoever! And the mean werewolves are all spawns of Elizabeth Warren…..” Bella starts.
“Please stop watching campaign ads in Massachusetts. You really can only believe 47% of what you see in those anyway.” Edward says.
“Why do you need regulation if you, living in the free market, self-regulate?” Bella asks.
“Because some vampires always bite.” Edward says.
I’m reading a lot in anticipation of the meeting in New Orleans. I have to prepare. I found some advice written by someone who knows what it is like being an aspiring scholar in an area. It is like, OMG, someone wrote this advice just for me. Someone gets me. I heart whoever wrote this.
I have to be careful with some of the advice, because it may conflict a little with my goal of being a top scholar.
I’ve been reading a lot of papers and blog posts lately on how to measure the quality of scholarship. Apparently, it has nothing at all to do with publishing articles, but rather how well I’m known by my peers. Now that I understand what I’m supposed to be doing (after all these years!), I have to get going on my to-do list:
- I need to hang around with cool people. In order to ensure that I am cited as broadly as possible, I’ve decided to hang around with the cool people in academia. Who are the cool people in academia? Why, one only has to look to the number of citations to determine that. Just ignore the inherent problems with this analysis. Eye on the prize. I want to be cool.
- I need to stop writing in tiny areas of the law which scholars find irrelevant. I need to stop writing in underwater basket-weaving law or dance law. Cool people don’t do that. I need to write in contracts, torts, business organizations, intellectual property, health law, or maybe something cool and ethereal like law & society. It doesn’t matter to anyone if I’m in the Congressional Record or wrote op-eds advocating policy change in practical terms. That doesn’t count. What matters is how often I’m cited by my peers, and the best way to be cited is to be friends with cool people who will cite me. I should pick an impact area. That will make my writing have a deep impact. Like a meteor. That HAS to be good.
- I need to make sure my new friends cite me in all of their articles. I need to maybe do some SSRN research and read some drafts and find where my articles will fit perfectly (or not so perfectly) for a proposition they are supporting. If I’m really desperate, I can do all the verifiable statement of fact footnotes for them, inserting my articles as need be.
- I need to blog. Okay, not like this. This blog doesn’t count, at least until I’m outed and can sell my story to Lifetime television. I mean a serious blog about some serious stuff. See the above topics. Then people will meet me and say “Oh, I read your blog.” I will tout their work on my blog, and then hopefully write a piece that links my work to theirs. Brilliant!
- I need to time travel and go to Harvard, Stanford or Yale. I can’t help but notice the correlation here between law schools and number of citations. I come for “I can’t find it University School of Law,” and there is no way I can compete with that. I am asking Michael J. Fox right here and now for his DeLorean.
- I need to time travel and write a bunch of stuff so that the cumulative effect is there. If I go back in time, say the 1920s, with what I know now, I could write some articles that will be trashed in that time period. Then, as time progresses, some bored, untenured law professor will notice how right I was! The plan can’t fail. How do I get that DeLorean again? Then again, I would have to stay and write for a number of years. There is no substitute for experience.
- Quite frankly, I need to suck up more. I’ve never been good at giving compliments. Yes, I will tell someone that their ideas are interesting and awesome. But I have to mean it. But now that I’m worried about my citation count, I think I should try to focus more on sucking up to popular people, complimenting them on their ideas regardless of my true feelings, and then explaining to them for hours on end how my ideas are great, too! It’s foolproof! Isn’t this what AALS is for anyway?
- I need to change my name. Currently I’m thinking of changing my name to Justice Holmes. That sounds good for some reason.
- I need to forget anything that I’ve learned about the massive endogeneity problems involved with using citations as a signal for success. I must unlearn….I must unlearn…..
- If I focus on citations, I have to give up hope of focusing on making the world a better place. No one will likely read my articles, including some of my friends who cite them, no matter how good they are. So what if I can’t change the world? I’ll always have my citations.
If I do all these things, I’ll be a top scholar. I’ll feel better about myself, because I can measure my success based upon a standard. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to work on an article suggesting that faculty prominence be measured by height. Then I’ll buy a pair of stilts.
We previously have discussed the type of people you meet at your job talk. It’s important that you review that information, in case you get that exciting call back. The next step is to actually give your job talk. Here are some tips that helped me secure a position on the tenure track. I did all of these things. Really. You’re welcome.
- Talk about something no one knows about except you. It is my personal belief that job talks based upon any first year course are doomed to failure. Every faculty member has taken those courses, and that translates (in their minds) to extensive experience in those subject matters. If you do a job talk in these topics, make sure it is an obscure area of the subject matter rather than something such as, say, the commerce clause. Example of a good job talk: Oil and Water Don’t Mix: Fracking and Water Law. Example of a bad job talk: The Commerce Clause and the Dormant Commerce clause: Reconciling the dormant with the active. You will still need to make sure they have enough information to know what you’re talking about, why it is interesting, and that you know more than they do about it.
- Your job talk title should have a colon. You might have your colon removed during the presentation of your job talk, but really your job talk title should start with one. The first portion of the title should have words that will grab the attention of even the sleepiest of professors. Examples: Sex, drugs, rock and roll, iPhones, social media, Google and book titles (dare you to use Shades of Grey or Twilight). Relevant information about what you’re really going to talk about should follow the colon. That portion should contain a statute, a legal principle, or the words “reconciling,” “rethinking,” or “the death of.” Make sure that your topic has not been previously reconciled, rethought, or killed.
- Market Your Obscure Topic. The fact you have chosen an obscure topic will make some faculty members question why on earth they are bothering to listen to you. It is not so much a question of what you say here, but how you say it. You should make a passionate (but not overly emotional) defense of the importance of your topic, explaining how if your problem isn’t addressed soon cats will bark, dogs will meow, birds will fall from the trees and law professors will lose their jobs.
- Bait and Switch. Now that you have them riveted, turn the tables on them. Many job talks don’t provide solutions to the problems they discuss, or at least do not provide pragmatic workable solutions that could be implemented. To paraphrase Dr. McCoy, “damn it, Jim, I’m a law professor, not anything useful to you right now!” Leave the ball up in the air. When your audience attempts to propose solutions, criticize the solutions. Now you’ve taken the high road: You are grading them, not the reverse. You may not get the job, but at least you can give them an F. Then at the end, come up with a solution “spontaneously!” It demonstrates that you’re thinking on your feet, and you came up with something more brilliant than they did! You’re a genius that needs to be hired! They don’t need to know you spent months thinking about it, and that you had to go to the mountain and ask the sage.
- Go Socratic. If you get ridiculous questions, engage in some thought, compliment the questioner on the interesting question, and then start a discussion. Respond after your initial thoughts with “what do you think?” Then you’ve taken the high road back, as in #4.
You may not be employed using this advice (although for some strange reason I was), but at least you’ll find your job talk entertaining. Hopefully they will too. Sure, there may be better advice out there, but this is what got me my job. I think. You’re welcome.
If you are in Washington D.C. and have decided that you want to teach, chances are you are at the AALS Meat Market at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. I’ve been where you are at. Many times. So much so that I hate the hotel and try to stay across the street at the Omni Shoreham just to avoid seeing people. Sometimes when I walk into the hotel I go fetal in the lobby. PTSD.
Regardless of whether you are visiting or just local to the area, here is some advice for you:
- Do not hang around the lobby bar by yourself. This isn’t dating. So stop thinking that hanging around the bar alone signals anything other than “I’m desperate.” The hiring committee can smell desperation like a pig smells out truffles. Do not send that signal (in dating or hiring conferences). Alternative: Throw a party at the hotel bar. Invite your friends. Assure that they all stand in a semi-circle around you so that you are clearly the center of attention. Seem relaxed, fun, and like you are the most popular kid in school. Because, while this isn’t dating, hiring committees sometimes like the popular people regardless of merit. Make sure they are all wearing blue so they impersonate fellow interviewees. Have one dress like a homeless person to impersonate a hiring committee chair casually talking to you after hours.
- Remember that it is the SECOND number that tells you which tower. The Marriott is a perfect place to torture aspiring faculty candidates. There are two towers, yards apart, and only a limited number of elevators to get candidates to their respective floors. Thus, if you are in room 2009 and have to go to room 2109, you have to go down two floors, then to the other tower, then up two floors. Don’t spend your time confused in one hallway. Alternative: Train as if you are training for the marathon. You should be able to run up and down 8 flights of stairs, in full suit (and heels depending on gender and/or personal preference) and not appear winded before the hiring committee.
- Be a scholarly geek. The hiring committee usually asks you at the end whether or not you have questions for them. At this point, people usually ask about what the school does to support scholarship, what the school is looking for in a candidate, etc. Do that when you get the flyback. What I think you should do instead is ask questions about the committee members’ scholarship. For example, if the committee is comprised of an IP scholar, a labor law scholar, and an environmental law scholar, you can read their work and find some commonalities. Example: I notice you all write about the trials and tribulations of regulatory regimes in your respective areas. Is it just a coincidence that you all have similar views on Chevron deference? Bad example: I have read all your articles. It seems like you are all from the same school. Is that true?
- Optimize your answer. We don’t want to hear you drone on for all twenty minutes about one article. Give a one minute answer, giving the high points. If the committee seems riveted, go on for another minute. In other words, don’t monopolize the conversation. It’s not all about you, you know (even if it is).
- Do not wander around the hotel after hours hoping to bump into someone who will interview you. It rarely works that way, and you seem kind of creepy. Especially if security is escorting you away in handcuffs. If you’re going to do anything remotely creepy, it should be in a cool way. Like maybe this. That would be cool.
- If the interviewers are mean, call them on it. I once had an interview where the interviewers made it clear to me that interviewing me was a huge mistake (apparently, their colleagues, who didn’t show to the meeting, were the ones who wanted to interview me). I tortured them for twenty minutes, asking the interviewers questions, making jokes, and assuring them that I was fine spending awkward time with them. They looked unhappy that I didn’t just walk out of the room. One caveat: Keep in mind they might just be testing you, so be poised, even as you are calling them on it.
- If you are out on the town between interviews and need to get back on time because you are late, do not take the Red Line Metro. There will be a delay.
- In case you didn’t know, Mei Xiang, the baby Panda, passed away in September. I tell you this now because you should not cry during your job interviews due to your weakened, exhausted, and overly emotional state. Do not visit the zoo between interviews!
- Do not mention the name Brian Tamanaha. If you don’t know who that is, do not find out. Feign ignorance if you already know. Too controversial. I won’t even provide a link here to ensure you avoid temptation.
- Remember that law schools have massive inferiority complexes. If you are wanted by higher-ranked schools, they may want you more. But don’t go boasting too much. If you act as if the interviewers are your third choice for prom date, they might grow resentful. It might bring back images of their proms (or lack thereof). No one likes a show off (except the person showing off at the time).
Good luck, relax, and have fun!
In light of recent events, I thought it best for students to understand when they should avoid professors like the plague. Here are some tips. You should avoid a professor…
- …if he is subject to a special agreement which warns future staff members that he has mistreated staff in the past.
- …if your professor can’t handle classroom management calmly. Cell phones go off, people cough, sometimes students even whisper to one another. The question if you’re the professor is: Do you go ballistic over it? Really, once a professor does that he will always be known as “that guy who snapped about the yawning.”
- …if your professor belittles students regularly for asking questions. Often times, it isn’t because the student asked a question which was clearly answered in the reading, but because the professor doesn’t know the answer and is too insecure to admit it. Now, it is true sometimes students ask repeated questions to delay advancement, but there are ways to handle that without being mean.
- …if your professor has an anger management problem. This means that the professor decides that you are worthy of having a book, cell phone, or eraser tossed your way (or any other projectile) or handles classroom management through violence.
- …if your professor has decided that his or her class is more important than every other class you have to take, to the point of scheduling additional classes which are not scheduled. No one’s class is more important than any other, except of course mine are very, very important.
- …if your professor is literally losing his mind. Yes, I know it is often times a fine line between a sane professor and an insane one.
- …if your professor shows up to class inebriated, or, if you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if he had.
- …if your professor looks down at the casebook as if he or she is reading it for the first time or otherwise looks completely unprepared.
- …if you watch movies in class (and this is all you do).
- …if the discussion you’re having is outdated by changes in the law which occurred in the past 20 years.
- …if your professor is more concerned about his or her schedule than yours. Example: “Uh, we need to make up the class I missed because I was sunning in Puerto Rico. How is Saturday night at 7 p.m.?”
- …if your professor likes to insult students, regardless of whether or not it is in the guise of the Socratic Method.
- …if your professor refuses to tell you what he or she expects from you, either on a syllabus or in class. Moving target games.
- …if your professor often tells stories about how he was the perfect student. That is a sure sign of memory lapse.
- ….if your professor clearly believes that he or she is a deity of some sort or feels the need to try and prove it. The “God” complex goes well beyond Doctors. I once had a professor who read aloud the acclaim of other professors, found conveniently on the back of his book. I walked out. There was no need for me to feed his need for external validation.
- …if your professor is an anonymous blogger.
None of this is to say that students are always angels. Students like to test boundaries sometimes. The professor’s reaction to that, however, sets the tone. No one will remember what the student did, but the professor’s reaction will be forever.