Archives for the month of: August, 2012

Dear Law School,

GASP!  It was SO good to hear from you! I haven’t heard from you since last year at this time.  I am thrilled to be kept apprised of all that is happening in your law school family.   What a LOVELY multi-page, multi-color brochure!  Everyone is so adorable!

Thank you for thinking of me!  Your card was masterfully done, and demonstrated clearly that you have an excellent marketing person capable of putting together a brochure!  And it put me in the spirit of the U.S. News Marketing Season!  Time to get out my law porn card holder!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like rankings, everywhere I go…..”

Of course, I get such cards from a lot of law school families this time of year.  It is the only time I hear from you all.  I miss you!  I wish you would write more often.  How about maybe writing a letter asking me how I’m doing every once in a while?  It’s as if you don’t care about me.  You never call…

When I opened your card, I just thought your faculty members were just so PRECIOUS!   They look VERY photogenic, and wow, they are all so accomplished!   They have written their little hearts out (most of them).   There is some blank space, but I’m sure that was for aesthetic reasons and not because of anything else.   Some of the articles from 1969 look VERY interesting from an historical perspective!

I am VERY excited about the fun your school has had over the course of the past year.  Such INTERESTING SPEAKERS, and every one of them in your brochure looks so thoughtful and engaged.  Some are even doing the cute little frowny-face to show how serious they are!  How cute!

And a lot of you have traveled far and wide!  China.  Mexico.  Hawaii.  Australia!  You have had some great adventures, bringing U.S. legal scholarship to the rest of the vacation/destination resort world!   No Somalia or Afghanistan or Syria for you all!  So precious!

And how articulate you all are!   I bet your faculty members are all so very smart.  I love the cute little blurbs about how “my scholarship is at the intersection of art law and water law, drawing from post-impressionist concepts and painting by numbers, blending perfectly the clear lines needed in legal art and the panoply of colors which makes my scholarship distinguishable from that of the thousands of other law professors writing on the same subject.”  PRECIOUS!   And not at all Lake Wobegon!  I think it is just so cute how they each have their one tiny little area of interest and they are have such amazing reputations in those areas.   It is important for friends to know each other, isn’t it?  And it is SO important for a true friend to know what his or her friends have written!

But you all are working too hard, dearies.  For example, I am concerned that a lot of your faculty members are hanging around library stacks.  I know that makes for a better photo shoot, but I worry about whether or not you have computers.  Do you need money?   Maybe I could give you just enough to cover the very expensive brochure?

You are all looking so incredibly professional in your suits too!  Having lived around faculty for over 20 years now, I really hope you all just dressed up for those shots!   Otherwise, you are all much more serious than many other schools.  Even law firms have casual days!  Ordinarily when I visit other law schools a disproportionate share of the people wearing suits are adjuncts and students (only during hiring season).   Oh dear, I hope you all aren’t on the market!!!!

Now, I don’t want to be a bother for you, dearies.  I know these things are expensive and your students are grumbling about higher tuition and no jobs.   Of course, we are now learning that they may be pointless.  But not to me!   I keep ALL of them.  Imagine how proud you will be when I post them in about 20 years.  So precious!!

You must be SO proud of yourselves!  And with all this external validation I am heaping on you, I hope you feel so much better about yourselves.

In the meantime, I have your card on my icebox.  So precious!

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(SOME OF THE ) THINGS THAT HAVE DIED (OR MAY HAVE DIED IF ASKED IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION) IN LEGAL ACADEMIA (According to Law Review Article Titles):

Contract, The Knock and Announce Rule, Reclamation, Privacy, Class Arbitration , Online Privacy, Dying Declarations, Slander, The 14th Amendment, Irreparable Injury, Copyright, Customary International Law, American Virtue, The Public Disclosure Tort, The But For Test and the Benign Motion Defense, Mandatory Arbitration in Public Works Disputes, Suspicion, The Supreme Court’s Certified Question Doctrine, Public Campaign Financing, Islamic Law, Twentieth Century Authority, Private Ordering, Big Law, The Single Monopoly Profit Theory, The Revolution, The No-Prejudice Rule, The American Trial, State Death Tax Credit, Dr. Miles, Life, State Street, The Pervasively Sectarian Doctrine, Judicial Conservatism (Reports of the death of this have been greatly exaggerated, me thinks), Google’s Patents, Strict Liability, The Presumption of Innocence (in Child Porn cases), Sovereign Tax Immunity, Contract (The New Death)(Apparently Contract has 9 lives), Life, Diversity, Federalism (The Third Time!), E-Discovery, Nollan and Dolan (and maybe Rosencrantz and Guildenstern too!), Knowledge, Causation, Capital Punishment (Second time!), Innocence, Fractionation, Distributed Denial of Service, Regulatory Compact, Obviousness, Blue Waters, The Public Forum in Cyberspace, Neutrality, The Equity-Efficiency Tradeoff, Offers, Secured Lending, Overbreadth Doctrine, Rule of Law (International Law), Public Education, Adjudication, Death Taxes, Tax Havens, The Filed Tariff Doctrine, The Shell Game, Status, Estate Taxes, Romance, Spousal Immunity, Commercial Bankruptcy in the U.S., The Receipt Rule, The Independent Counsel Law, Media, Regulation in the Age of the Internet, Cyberspace, Contra, Common Sense, A Desert Flower, Reliance, Employment at Will.

If you have seen any of these things alive recently, please let the authors of the articles with the appropriate titles know.

Do you sometimes get bored at AALS?  Here are some tips for making sure your AALS adventure is as exciting as mine tend to be.

  1. On the forced bus torture part of AALS (for the Gala), try to start a sing along.   (Sigh…this won’t work in New Orleans because there will be no bus travel).   😦  Maybe for the environmental field trip?
  2. At any author’s reception, when asked which book you wrote, explain that you wrote a children’s book on international law.  Explain that the hard part was the artwork, but you were proud that Elmo used it for the “extraordinary rendition” portion of Sesame Street.
  3. Try to talk one of the “Security” personnel (aka law students) into allowing you into the room without a name tag.  Explain that you HAVE to see Professor X give a talk but you can’t afford the AALS fee.  Explain has been your life’s ambition to see Professor X give such a talk.  Ask to borrow the security personnel’s tag to get in if he or she refuses to let you in without a tag.
  4. Interrupt any conversation/heated discourse at random and accuse both people of being wrong.  A friend of mine did this once during a very vocal argument.  He then took the time to figure out, using the Socratic Method, what they were talking about in his field of expertise.  He did convince them that they were both wrong.
  5. Keep asking where the price scanner is at the West/Foundation/Any other publisher’s kiosk.
  6. Look for any nervous, new professor huddled in a corner and ask for his or her autograph.  Chances are, they are smart and intelligent, and you’ll be glad you boosted his or her ego.
  7. If anyone proudly gushes about having met a (famous in their field) law professor, feign ignorance of the person.
  8. When someone is going on for more than 20 minutes about an article he or she wrote that is groundbreaking, have a friend ring your phone.  Answer it, and say, “Yes, Mr. President. Excuse me…”
  9. Take your laptop and work on an article at the bar.  One of my friends did this once too (same person as in #4), and he wound up with a group of people drinking with him.  And an article.
  10. Make up a field of law, and profess to teach a course in it.  For example, say you created a course called simply “Law &….”  Suggest what you have done is combine topics from Law & Religion, Law & Society, Law & Economics, Law & Culture, etc. into one exciting blockbuster course.
  11. Make up a course based upon a popular TV show.  I know people have used Law & Order and the Wire to teach courses, but really go further than that.  Sadly, in trying to come up with hilarious examples, I have discovered that people have already used them in courses.  😦  International law and Star Trek?  Done.  Lost?  Done.  Sigh.  A course on Gilligan’s Island and Coase?  How about Contract Drafting using Fantasy Island as the Client?  Divorce Law on the High Seas: The Love Boat?
  12. In any discussion, list 3 +/- one reason for anything.  For example, there are two reasons for this. One, people like the number 3.  Secondly, people don’t like four or two reasons for anything.  They aren’t so much convinced by two and four seems like too much.

Have fun, and good luck!

FALL 2012 (ST: I had a good summer….It’s over now. 😦 )

LAW 101:  THE LAW OF LAW (ST: The World According to Professor Garp)

 SYLLABUS (ST: Isn’t Syllabus Latin for I’ll read this later?)

 Professor Lawprofblawg (ST: That weird guy)

Office:  Room 222 (ST: In the dark basement past the sign saying “beware of dog” in which the professor resides 2 hours a week and where to go with questions 2 days before the exam starts.)

Office Phone: (888) 999-1010 (ST:  If you need to awake the sleeping giant, call this number.)

Email:  Lawprofblawg@law.university.edu  (ST: Where to e-mail questions two hours before the exam starts, so that he might respond on his iPad.)

Office Hours:  Monday and Wednesday Noon-1 and by appointment (ST: He will be eating while he talks to us.  I’ll stop by at 12:59.)

 

TEXTS

  1. PROBLEMS IN LAW (20th Ed.) by Lawprofblawg.  (ST: No wonder prof drives a nice car!  And it is a new edition so I can’t buy it used even though he only changed two cases.  I won’t be able to resell it either as the 21st edition comes out.  Grrr.)
  2. Law: Examples & Explanations (recommended) by Lawprofblawg (ST: This is from where he will pull his exam questions at the last minute.)

Attendance and Participation

Class participation and attendance are required.  (ST: Okay, 14 weeks times 3 classes times .8 =… where’s my iphone calculator?)

Class participation may result in the award of push points.  (ST:  Thanks for rewarding those that don’t have social anxiety).

Laptops are not permitted during class.  (ST:  No instant messaging friends, looking things up, online shopping, or in fact doing class related research.  I will just go to my alternate fantasy world when I’m bored.  Or I could just write down every odd thing Prof says and put it on Facebook later.  You can take my laptop, but you can’t make me listen.)

You will be called on randomly to discuss the reading materials.  (ST: Okay, maybe you can make me listen.  😦 I like panels better.  Prof, you always call on me when I’m least prepared, like you have this sixth sense.  Or maybe you smell fear.  Regardless, it’s unnatural.)

EXAMS AND GRADING

Midterm:  A Practice Exam will be given halfway through the course.  It will be ungraded.  (ST: I don’t have to study or work on it too much. That would fly against my normal routine.  Whew).

There will be a comprehensive final exam on December 7, 2012.  (ST:  Pearl Harbor day?   Figures.  Disaster imminent.   One exam determines my fate?  Lucky me.)

The exam will be a four hour, in class, closed book exam.  (ST: Sadist!)

ASSIGNMENTS

#1.   434-466.  (ST:  OMG, that’s more than 30 pages of reading!  Sadist!)

#2.   599-640.  (ST:  OMG, two days in a row!)

#3.   301-322 (ST: That must be a hard subtopic–less than 30 pages. The footnote on page 303 might be the whole exam question.)

#4.   323-346 (ST: No, he just broke the subject up.  He must have lunch plans these two days).

#5.   1-30.  (ST: Why don’t these books ever go in order?  Assignment #1 should be pages 1-30 and so on.  For the $800 I paid for this book it could at least do that!)

#63.  444-474 (ST:  This is the stuff we’ll never cover.  Must not be important.)

 

The Five People You will meet at your job talk (who might cause you to lose the job).

  1. Gangster Prof Doing the Drive-By.   This academic gangster will ask a question.  If you answer him incorrectly or disagree with him, he will make a disapproving comment, barely audible, but not to you.  A simple “that’s not right” or “I think you’re wrong” in his eyes is enough to kill your talk.  You’re done.  At the hiring meeting, he will use one of the faculty meeting tactics to destroy you, mostly likely appealing to authority.  Why?  Pretty much the same reason as real-life drive-bys.  Revenge (not necessarily related to you), turf war (subject matter overlap), and, of course, drugs may be involved.
  2. Monopolizer.  It is as if you two are having the next great debate.  Except it is really not.  He is stuck on footnote 4 (because he’s fixated on that footnote number since Carolene Products).  It isn’t even your footnote because some editor threw it in.  You’d like to stick to your main points but, no, he’s now on his sixth volley and other hands are now going up.  To the extent monopolize is merely taking a contradictory position, you two may end up sound like the Monty Python Argument Clinic skit.
  3. Confuse-us.  You are four minutes and thirty seconds into your talk.  The hand goes up.  The question:  “When we are talking about eggs, you mean the organic free-range eggs or do you mean caged chicken factory eggs?”   Actually, your talk is about embryos and property rights, but no matter.
  4. The Apologizer.  I’m sorry, says the Apologizer, but I fear that I have to use my superior intellect to shred your job talk.  L  The Apologizer looks at you with pity:  You’re so sadly devastated by his argument.  If only you had been more thoughtful!  Sorry!  In reality, of course, the Apologizer has done no such thing.  No one else gets it either.  But he’s so confident!   You think he is wrong.  But that’s not what he thinks, and that is why there is a look of pity.  He’s so nice, what with the puppy dog eyes, that you eventually start to think he is right.
  5. Verizon.  Without regard for your job talk, Verizon will have his cell phone go off during the talk.  He might even stand up, talking loudly into the phone, as he walks out.  Do not laugh, regardless of the ring tone!   And do not allow yourself to be deterred from completing your talk either.  Suggest something better as a ringtone.  Perhaps the “Sound of Silence?”

Good luck!