michigan law school strikes back.jpgLast week we brought you the tale of lunchtime thievery at the University of Michigan Law School. Two months ago we told you about the international cell phone caper.

Well it’s time to show that ATL can get as good as we give. Our reporting has provoked an angry response from some Michigan Law School students:

I have one question to ask the ATL e-mail forwarder: Why would you want to make a laughingstock out of *the school you attend? In case you overlooked that fact, you go here, friend. As in, you are affiliated with this school, and when ATL and a bandwagon of commentators talk smack about this school, they’re talking about you by affiliation.

It’s not humorous, because–believe it or not–there are actual people with actual jobs centered around fostering good PR about this school. When there are people forwarding embarrassing, curse word-filled e-mails to ATL, or e-mails denigrating poor people, it kind of goes against the grain and makes all of us look bad.

So, maybe you could stop?

Thanks.

Just to be clear, we are fans of Michigan. You will not find a sweater-vest among us. It just never occurred to us that the law school student body had been conscripted into the University Spin Team.

But apparently some students believe that one bad apple spoils the bunch:

Gossip magazines and gossip e-magazines fall short (understatement) of the student body here at Michigan Law. As a student and recipient of AbovetheLaw interview requests, I feel strongly that any contributors from our student body to a gossip column make us ALL look bad. Our allegiance should lie with our Law School (as our future jobs depend a great deal on the University’s prestige) and I encourage my peers to rise AbovetheLaw for the sake of our collective good. We are Michigan Law and We will one day have “the province and duty… to say what the law is.” — Chief Justice John Marshall.

“Son, it’s not about what you are called, it’s about what you answer to.” — My Mom.

A curious dissent from a Michigan law student after the jump.


Some people at Michigan subscribe to a different maxim. “All press is good press.”

As an avid reader of Above the Law (which I just figured out is abbreviated at ATL–I know, slow deductive ability on mine), and as an avid reader of other information sources like People or Delisted, I can assure your that “[g]ossip magazines and gossip e-magazines” do not fall short of some (and I suspect most) of the student body here. I think you’ll find (and this is just through anecdotal evidence of my life experiences) that people thoroughly enjoy interpersonal strife as well as the ever evolving gossip stories that the strife spawns.

Nor am I persuaded that your conclusions are sound. I doubt that a publicized email duel regarding sandwich theft will materially affect the law school’s reputation for producing talented (or untalented attorneys). And as most celebrity agents know, press coverage is better than no coverage. A reputation for being the law school whose (and yes, I know whose is improper here but whoever made up that rule is an idiot) greatest fault is a string of unprecedented sandwich theft is a story that is both entertaining and memorable. I’d smile if I read it in the USNWR guide to law schools. Moreover, the published article conveys the overall sense of humor that awaits certain email posts… the moldy sandwich bag was clever–I wish I knew who sent it.

As far as we are aware, “property safety” is not a relevant factor in the U.S. News rankings — how else could a law school based in New Haven be ranked so highly? It’s unlikely that sandwich thefts will affect the reputation of Michigan Law, and we hope that 2Ls are not showing up to OCI with little red books:

Finally, I think the collectivism that suffuses your email is a bit frightening. If sandwich theft (and the accompanying email spat) is important information for those forming an opinion about the law school (a big if), then it seems like there is an obligation to not deceive the world about what Michigan is. I doubt that the law school wants to recruit students that don’t fit in to our sandwich infighting–no one is served by a mismatched recruit. Moreover, should we really conceal material information about the law school just to place our graduates in better law firms. I remind you that those firms handle extremely important and complex economic transactions, and if opinions about sandwich theft were somehow relevant to those transactions, then the concealment will impair those firms’ ability to perform vital services.

Would that Michigan Law School Dean Caminker felt the same way. Word on the street is that the administration has been disconcerted with either the quality of content on the law school listserv, or our coverage of it.

We don’t think students should be discouraged from being funny. One of our critics puts it best:

My argument does not rest on the sandwich incident alone. ATL has used and will continue to use incidents occurring here at UMLaw. Provide me with a story from ATL that portrays UMLaw in a positive light and I will admit that I misconstrued their motives.

Well, we’re not sure if it’s our job to portray any school in a positive light. But if it makes you feel any better:

Hail! to the Victors valiant

Hail! to the conquering heroes

Hail! Hail! To Michigan

The leaders and Best …

Hail! to the Victors valiant

Hail! to the conquering heroes

Hail! Hail! To Michigan

The Champions of the west!


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