If you had invited me to be your graduation speaker, this is what I would have said.  It’s at Above the Law.

I’m still open for a speaker invitation for next year.

Was interviewed this weekend by Above the Law as a grading expert.

JUSTICE Ke: You know, I usually like to think of what word best describes a case, and the word that comes up for me is…..

JUSTICE Sc: Marriage?

JUSTICE Ke: No, millennia. Millennia plus time.

JUSTICE Sc: You do know millennia is a measure of time right? Let’s just cut to the chase. Looking at the dictionary, gay means happy. Courts can’t compel happy marriages. End of textualist story.

JUSTICE T: Stoic silence.

JUSTICE A: Forget about same sex marriage. I want to jump right into whether this opens doors for polygamy.

JUSTICE Sc: Why?

JUSTICE A: Um….no reason.

JUSTICE Sc: Seriously, answer the question. Will I be able to marry a dictionary if we rule in your favor?

JUSTICE Ke: I’m worried about the states. This is all happening so fast. Have they had sufficient time to oppress their citizens?

JUSTICE A: Because we are wearing things close to togas, I would like to bring up gay relations in ancient Greece.

JUSTICE B: I’m deeply concerned about changing the definition of marriage. However, changing election results doesn’t bother me one bit.

JUSTICE Sc: I’m worried that my arch nemesis Posner is writing a book about this as we speak.

JUSTICE T: Silence speaks volumes. My bookcase contains an infinite amount of invisible books about my oral argument thoughts.

JUSTICE A: Do you think the primary purpose of discriminatory laws is to demean people? No, this isn’t a rhetorical question.

JUSTICE Ka: I would ask you a question, but for some reason the guys are being huge homophobes right now and dismissing my questions.

JUSTICE Sc: It’s the anniversary of Carolene Products footnote 4, so really we should let voters decide whether to discriminate against gay people. I don’t see the irony in what I just said.

JUSTICE So: Have you seen what the institution of marriage is like? I’m not sure same sex marriage can demean this institution any further.

JUSTICE Sc: Don’t answer that question. It’s not your burden. Your burden should be to only answer my questions.

JUSTICE RBG: Anyone see the irony of how marriage discussion has now turned to discussions of procreation? Is there another abortion case around the corner?

JUSTICE Ka: Does anyone see the problem of defining marriage as procreation centered?

JUSTICE RBG [looking at Justice Sc]: I’ve thought of one.

PANEL PROPOSAL BY LAWPROFBLAWG:  THE FUTURE OF SCHOLARSHIP

Traditional academic lore is that to make a dent in the halls of academe one must publish. This has in most cases meant publication in student-run law reviews, preferably at the highest U.S. News and World Report ranks. Once tenured, one could progress to writing more articles and a book or two. At other times, it has also meant the publication of a casebook.

The world of legal scholarship has thus seemed isolated. Judges are less inclined to look at law reviews. In response to that, scholars have increasingly taken their scholarship “on the road,” either in the form of amicus briefs in highly notable cases, or by testifying before Congress.

A final realm for scholarship has been social media. Whether utilized to float emerging thoughts among peers, or to promote completed works, social media is now mainstream among academics. A recent survey of academics with twitter accounts demonstrates increasing usage of a medium in stark contrast to that of traditional scholarship.

This panel will explore the future of legal scholarship. What are the legitimate scholarly uses of social media? What are the risks? To what degree has scholarship transformed into activism once it leaves the law review? What is (or should be) the role of law professor experts in court and in the public sphere?

MODERATOR:

Lawprofblawg, an anonymous online persona, scholar, and law professor with an impeccable record of tweeting about AALS.

PANELISTS:

[REDACTED, plus two openings left, let me know if you’re interested in participating]

Dear Kindergartner and Prospective applicant to law school:

Congratulations! We have heard from your parents/grandparents/teachers/other kids on the playground that you got a HAPPY FACE on your writing assignment. As you know, HAPPY FACES are important. You know where they are most important? On the faces of law school admissions personnel.

Your HAPPY FACE grade is a good sign you would do well in law school. We like to turn frowns upside down is our motto. You know what makes us the most joyful? When we can admit someone with a high GPA (lots of happy faces) or LSAT (big happy face on a big test). You are well on your way to being someone we would love to see in law school.

Not just any law school. Our law school. In fact, if you do really well, we won’t even make you take the LSAT (really big test). Some of those other law schools might make you take this test, but we won’t, if you have lots of HAPPY FACES on your report card.

Here is one of our admissions counselors at your home wooing you to come to our law school:

As you can see, we take our work seriously. By the way, that last sentenced rhymed, and you’ll learn about that in second grade.

In some cases, we won’t even require you to finish college (that’s grades 13-17). You’ll be able to start at grade 16. This way, we make sure we reduce your overall costs of college, but not law school so much.

As you can see from the happy face on this letter, you should keep this letter in a special box, and then contact us at the right time. We’ve also asked your parents/teachers/grandparents/siblings/friends to make sure you only contact us and not some other law school.

By the way, did you know that some people are allergic to Ivy? Google it. Ivy can be poison Ivy. You might know that as a villain (bad person) who keeps challenging Batman (that’s you!). Don’t fall for the trick of poison Ivy or her dangerous Ivy League.

As your parent/grandparent/sibling/teacher reads this letter to you, we just want you to know how very proud we all are of you. We can’t wait to see you in the very near future.

Sincerely,

Your special friends at law school admissions

PS: Talk to your teachers about skipping grades so you can get here sooner!

Woke up quick at about noon
thought that I had to be in the classroom soon
I gotta get preppin’ before the day begins
Before my dean starts bitchin’ about my evaluations

About to go and damn near went blind
Young students on the path throwin’ out panic signs
I went in the office to get my power points
With the Macbook, luggin it hurts my joints

I bailed to the class and I called out my minion
And just as I thought, the fool was slackin’
I jumped in the office, hit the juice on my drawer
I got scotch and tequila, and a few drinks more

Then I let the computer speakers sing
I was pumpin’ old shit from Wagner’s Ring
It was, Classical, Classical at the top of the list
Then I played my own shit, it went somethin’ like this

Got my tenure by my sixth year
Writing the papers, teaching with fear
I went to the Dean to get the deal
Travel for a conference for a free meal

A colleague pulls up, who can it be?
It’s a untenured prof trollin’ me
She opens the door and she starts to say
“It’s all about makin’ that Harvard pub play”

‘Cause the profs in the school are always hard
Come talkin’ that trash and we’ll pull your (library) card
Knowin’ nothin’ in life but to be legit
Don’t quote me, student editor, I ain’t said sh*t

Bored as hell and I wanna get ill
So I go to a place where my double latte chill
The fellas out there tryna make that dolla’
I pulled up in my 2014 Honda

Greeted with a Grande and I start drinkin’
And from the Caramel Macchiato, my breath starts stinkin’
I gotta get the associate dean to leggo some money
Before I left I printed my CV

Pulled to the office, get him off the iPad
And then he said somethin’ to make me mad
He said somethin’ that I couldn’t believe
Gave the money to someone not me!

He started talkin’ shit, wouldn’t cha know
Told me I’d have to teach two classes in the evening snow!
And then I stood up and he started to shout
“Get the f**k out before I kick your old ass out!”

‘Cause the profs in the school are always hard
Come talkin’ that trash and we’ll pull your (library) card
Knowin’ nothin’ in life but to be legit
Don’t quote me, student editor, I ain’t said sh*t

Final exam trippin’ but its alright
Got my m-c answer key, gonna fly, grading, fly.

Dear Committee,

Please consider replacing our antiquated student evaluations with this one.

Sincerely,

Lawprofblawg

1. Name of Professor _______ (If you don’t know, please cease filling out this form)

2.  Course Name ___________(If you don’t know, please cease filling out this form)

3. What Grade do you expect from this course? ______ (If below a C, please cease….)

4.  Do you think this course will help you become a better lawyer?

(If you answered “no,” please provide detailed explanation of your experience as a lawyer, working with lawyers, or other legal experience that qualifies you to answer. If your professor lacks practice experience, never mind).

5.  How was the level of reading? _________ (e.g., too much, too little).

If you think there was too much reading, how much did you want? (If your answer is below 20 pages, please cease……)

6.  How prepared was the instructor? _______

(If you answered “not at all,” please check the spine of the book. If your professor’s name is there, please cease……)

7.  For purposes of tenure decisions or post-tenure review, please fill in, verbatim, the professor’s worst off-topic stream of consciousness rant (provide context).

8.  Were you able to understand the professor’s lectures and discussion?

If not, is this partly your fault? (If you answered no, please cease……)

9.  How many classes did the instructor miss?

No, really, just the instructor. Not the ones you ditched.

10.  How often was your instructor late for class?

Was your answer above biased because you think the professor is attractive and was just happy to see him or her?

11.  How was the casebook or other course materials?

(If you answered the previous question negatively, check the spine. If it still cracks with and has that new book smell, please cease…….)

12.  For purposes of tenure decisions or post-tenure review, please describe in detail the professor’s worst and best lectures. It’s not like we faculty can be bothered to sit in on classes, you know. That’s why we rely on these things.

13.  Was the professor disrespectful or abusive in any way? Explain. (Note: Socratic method doesn’t count).

You are forced to choose between spending a year in jail or another semester with this professor. Which would you choose? (Note: It is not an acceptable answer to suggest putting the professor in jail for “crimes against teaching”).

14.  Please describe in detail your experience with the final exam. Was it comprehensive? Fair? Did it look like it was written in, say, 1957? Was it taken for E&E verbatim?   (If so, please disclose whether the professor was teaching Copyright law).

What Toilets Can Teach You about Management

  1. Don’t meet a topic head on. Circle around it first. It might be unpleasant at first, but eventually you’ll find deeper meaning. Think Dante here.
  2. Stay focused. Notice that a toilet flushes the same direction every time. That’s consistency.
  3. Fill up your tanks. Be sure to refill your managerial potential. Remember, toilets always have a reservoir of potential. Make sure yours is not depleted.  Otherwise, you might be SOL.
  4. If the seat is up, be sure to lower it. Be considerate of others. This way, no one falls into excrement. In other words, assure that people have a seat at the table and are empowered.
  5. Employees should wash their hands. Wash your hands after a managerial decision. In other words, don’t let yourself get sick over the residual effects of the management process.
  6. Running toilets are wasteful. Don’t pour too much into your management decisions. Remember, there should be a time limit.
  7. Don’t be out of TP.   Contingency planning will help assure that you stay on a roll next time an issue comes up.
  8. Newspapers are sometimes helpful. Background reading can help any managerial decision. Make sure you are prepared for your next management experience.
  9. Don’t accept the false dichotomy of #1 or #2. Remember, management is about synergies.
  10. Locked stalls make for good neighbors. Never get caught with your pants down at a meeting.

With a little help from our friend the toilet, you can be an excellent manager, and perhaps write a management blog post such as this one.

I had a dream last night that Yale changed its grading policy to follow blood types.  Instead of the Honors/Pass method, the grades were A, AB, B, and O (the last category for “Oh my God that’s bad but you’ll still pass”).  Rh factors would apply, too.  Therefore, you could get a grade of AB-.

What made this a nightmare is that Harvard responded by only accepting students with A+ blood type.

It has been a while since I have blogged.   I have been trying to ground myself and focus on what matters, like shopping online.

During a particularly painful faculty meeting under a totalitarian dean, I found myself going fetal.  This lead me to think that maybe something from childhood could give me comfort.

It turns out that many children’s books are written about academia. Some examples:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: This is a book about a law professor who, after throwing a tantrum that is not tolerated by the Dean and Associate Dean, starts his own institute. Sadly, things get out of hand as he brings more faculty aboard, and he casts himself away from the institute.

THE GIVING TREE: Written from the perspective of a Dean, who, after giving and giving and giving to a particularly needy faculty member, finds she has nothing left to give. This leaves her stumped.   At the end, the faculty member sits on the tree stump, symbolizing the typical governance structure of a university at which faculty members grind deans down.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM: Sam I Am is clearly the harbinger of curricular reform (green eggs and ham). He keeps trying to explain to the faculty that they really would like the changes. The faculty , entrenched in the status quo, refuses. After several faculty meeting no votes, the  faculty  discovers that they like curricular reform.

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE: Written from the perspective of a Dean who likes to say “no,” (and who has perhaps read The Giving Tree), the book describes what happens if you give a faculty member what he or she wants. While the book is essentially a slippery slope argument, it is a must-read for deans who hate faculty members and like to say no to them.

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU: A story about a faculty hiring committee and a Supreme Court clerk.

THE CAT IN THE HAT: This is the story of why committees are bad. Two bored faculty members, not focused on teaching or scholarship get together with a rabble-rousing faculty member and make much commotion. Of course, not much comes of it.

DRAMA LLAMA: The entirely fictional story of what happens to someone who creates drama at a law school. The Drama Lllama becomes alienated and eventually has no friends. In reality, they are likely to be popular at AALS and even rise to the level of Dean.

If you want to be comforted about your life in academia, I highly recommend these books.

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