Email Scandals, Law Schools, listserv, Ridiculousness

Law Students Tangle Over Prestige, Machine Guns, and Books; Hilarity Ensues

The best time for law school emails is right before spring semester finals. People have been stressed for an entire year and things are just about to get worse, so you see law students just breaking down. The Crimson DNA affair came to light last April; hopefully we’ll get something good this year too.

The second best time to gawk at law students is right now — after Christmas break, but before spring break. Students come back to school and momentarily feel like they matter, like they’re important, like they should speak up when things happen to them.

Like a bear, I feast on the salmon run that comes at the end of the semester, but I’m more than happy to sample the berries and other fruits that become available at this particular time of year. Just this week, we’ve seen a Georgetown kid tell his classmates he is no cheater. We’ve got the BU kid who posted his grades on Facebook.

Today we’ve got pure gold from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Law students can bring the crazy on their own, but they’re so much more interesting when you can put two of them in a room together. Then you can just watch the sparks fly.

This whole thing started over books. A 2L was trying to sell his old 1L books to the new class. The 2L was using the 1L listserv to make the pitch, and one Tennessee 1L got sick of the spam. He emailed the 2L, asking him to stop spamming the listserv. I’ll let the 1L explain his own motivations:

I am currently enrolled as a first-year student at the University of Tennessee College of Law. When important messages such as grade calculations, financial deadlines, and the like need to be disseminated to the entire class, the distributer can utilize the first-year listserv to easily send an email to all. Unfortunately, the listserv can also be accessed by individuals with ignoble intentions, clogging our inboxes with spam. I decided to take action, and the following is the verbatim exchange between myself and one of the spamming culprits, who’s name I have changed to protect his identity.

The full thread is captured on this website. To summarize the boring bits, the 2L was aggressively trying to sell his books back and the 1L asked him to stop. Then the 1L sent an email to the entire 1L listserv warning his classmates not to purchase books from this guy.

The 2L took offense (note that the 2L’s responses are posted on the 1L’s webpage; I can’t independently verify that the anonymous 2L sent the emails attributed to him):

you just fucked up my friend. I’ll make your pussy life a living hell. Before I went to law school I got paid by the government to make people’s lives hell.. Im a pro…

we’ll be meeting eachother real soon

Rumble on Rocky Top! The 1L responds:

My email to the listserv concerning your solicitous behavior has garnered a lot of support among the 1L class. I am pleased that I was not alone in my abhorrence of listserv abuse.

…Our behavior not only represents ourselves but the entire college of law, and we must act accordingly. I find your reply, in which you threaten to “make [my] pussy life a living hell,” disheartening because you are not only embarrassing yourself with your juvenile claims, but embarrassing the entire school by being a member of the college.

Embarrassing to the entire school? Now why would you say a crazy thing like that? Sorry, don’t let me interrupt you, please continue:

I researched your Facebook profile to garner more insight into your antics. For first, you really should alter your privacy settings, because all of your profile information and pictures are available for viewing to anyone with internet access (and they are not flattering). Second, you list one of your former occupations as “machinehunner” for the Army. I assume you meant machine gunner, and I am further assuming that this role is what you are referring to when you claim you were “paid by the government to make people’s lives hell” (and not your former occupation as a clerk in a pornography store that I have been informed you were very passionate about). I wish to thank you for your service to your country. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the members of the Armed Services, and your selflessness in serving is wholly commendable and noble. However, just because you were trained to use a machine hun does not give you the right to threaten me or anyone else over an email. Further, I would hope that other soldiers do not classify their role as that of “mak[ing] people’s lives hell,” as you seem to, but rather as peace keepers and servants of the country.

Please refrain from any more childish threats to resort to violence. You are embarrassing yourself, and you are embarrassing me because in a few years we will have the same degree.

Boom goes the dynamite. Talk about not being intimidated: this 1L went out did reconnaissance on an Army vet, then threw it back in his face.

Not that the 2L veteran was deterred. It’s not clear that the 2L even understood the point of the 1L’s response, but that wasn’t going to top him from more smack talking:

I sold many books to your 1L class and have people contacted up to five times a day asking for my books. I am doing them a favor. You are a child who knows nothing of life. I would never hurt someone who can not stand up for themselves a look a man in the eyes when the critisim them. You have nothing to fear but your inability to be a true man. I have held prestigious internships in Knoxville’s largest firms, make stellar grades, and support the law school community. I needed extra money to support my education, nobody paid for my law school and I paid for college with four years of hell fighting war across the middle east and sleeping in the freezing dirt in Germany. The GI bill ran out in college and now I sell books, like EVERY other law student, to make extra cash. You were the ONLY one who complained to me about the emails. I received over 50 email from people inquiring into purchasing my books. Then you have the nerve to tell people not to. What gives you the right. And there is nothing on my facebook i am not proud of. It did not effect me getting highly paid internships. I am also very friendly with dean morgan, so if you read the listserv policy you will see I am doing nothing wrong. But you are interfering with my business operations, a tort you may learn about next year.

BY the was it is machine gun, not mach hun. Check your grammar. You are a child who doesn’t know when there is a time to be eloquent and a time to spit it out. I know a lot of important people in this city, I have stayed at the Governor elect’s cabin, and some of the most prestigious lawyers know me and come to me to show their respect for what I did in Iraq. You are a pest. I would never hurt you but I’ll remember your name when I am two years ahead of you.

In point of fact, the proper form is “CHECK YOU GRAMMAR,” not “Check your grammar.” And the 1L was clearly having a go at you with the “machine hun” line.

In any event, that my friends, is a fascinating display of everything law school is about. In one paragraph, you’ve got prestige, ego, bullying, name dropping. guilt tripping, and of course the classic attempt to make a legal issue out of an everyday occurrence. When people talk about how difficult law school is, they’re not talking about the coursework. They’re talking about having to deal with this guy for three years. Cf. David Brooks on Amy Chua (“Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls.”).

How do you respond to all that? I think the 1L gets it right. The final email posted is from the 1L:

Cool story, brah.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

End Listserv Abuse Now [Kaa]

Earlier: Georgetown 1L’s Awesome Section-Wide Response to Cheating Allegations
Posting Your 1L Grades on Facebook Makes You A …?

(hidden for your protection)

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