Law Schools, Rudeness, UVA Law

PSA: Don’t Take Out Your Frustrations On Support Staff

Future partner nobody wants to work for.

You know how they say that if a kid tortures animals, then it’s a pretty good bet that the kid will grow to be a danger to people? I feel like a similar thing can be said of law students. If you see a law student who picks on law librarians, administrative staff, and others in the law school community who don’t have the power and respect of the academic faculty, it’s a pretty good bet that you’re looking at a future lawyer who is going to yell and scream and bully his secretary and people who are junior to him.

It’s. Really. Pathetic. Throwing a hissy fit at those who have no power is the mark of a coward.

Of course, the ultimate law school pressure-cooker is final exams. And when the pressure is on, you can find out who keeps their cool, and who is a d-bag…

Last week, students at UVA Law School were in the heat of studying finals. Tension was high. Upturned collars were soaked in sweat. As students huddled in the library, an errant fire alarm went off. Some students dealt with it, but one did not.

A random law school employee was in the library and apparently a male UVA law student inexplicably blamed her for the false fire alarm. And he just started yelling at her. The scene was apparently so ugly that Dean Paul Mahoney decided to get involved. Here’s the letter he sent to the UVA Law community:

Dear students,

I’m sorry to clutter your inboxes, particularly with unpleasant news. Please bear with me.

At around 3:30 pm on Saturday, a student inadvertently set off a fire alarm near Scott Commons. At the time, a female employee of the Law School Foundation was in the area preparing for a reunion event later that evening. A male student who was upset about the noise confronted her in a way that was so extreme and out of keeping with our community’s norms that I feel obligated to respond. We do not yet know the student’s identity, but multiple Law School and Foundation employees, and possibly students, saw him.

If you are the student just described, I ask that you go promptly to the Law School Foundation offices on the 3rd floor of Slaughter Hall to apologize, then arrange to meet with me to discuss your actions. In determining consequences, I will take your cooperation and acceptance of responsibility into account. If I do not hear from you by the close of business on Tuesday, we will launch an investigation and I am confident we will learn your identity.

Holding reunion events at the Law School on a Friday and Saturday evening during exams can disrupt your studies and we do our best to limit that disruption. Experience indicates that on balance our students find the interactions with alumni during reunions a net plus, but we are always willing to listen to and consider your views. But lashing out at people who are trying to do their jobs is absolutely unacceptable. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Regards and best wishes,

Paul Mahoney

I don’t know if the dickhead student has turned himself in. I’m not one for witch hunts. But people need to learn that acting like a petulant child will not be tolerated.

I don’t think this is just a UVA Law problem, and I actually applaud Dean Mahoney for calling the kid out. You see this a lot in the legal community. Some lawyers and would-be lawyers act like being “stressed” gives them carte blanche to abandon social decorum.

But here’s a word that law students need to learn: “Deal.” So a fire alarm went off while you were studying. Deal. Don’t be a tool and look for somebody to blame. Just suck it up and deal with it.

Watch out for the kids in your law school who are rude to those they don’t have to be nice too. They’ll be the kids you never want to work with professionally.

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