Every law school is its own island. Every law school is basically an isolated community where vicious infighting (and often inbreeding) allows natural selection to work its magic and produce variations of same genus, but different species.
Like Darwin on the Beagle, sometimes I like to hop onto the HMS Walrus and survey the different kinds of law students evolving all around the country.
Today, my travels bring me to Charleston, South Carolina, and the newly accredited Charleston School of Law. At many law schools, the identity and the culture of the place is set based on years of tradition and a selective admissions process. But at a school like Charleston, we get to see identity development in practice.
And boy is it funny….
You know how they say there is nothing more sad than an ex-president? I’d argue that there is a comparable sadness of an Ivy League graduate pottering around a low-ranked graduate school that lacks prestige. The Ivy League ex-pat tries to do things that worked in his previous life, but it just reinforces all of his new classmates’ impressions that the kid thinks he’s better than them. It’s just never pretty.
It’s never pretty if the former Ivy Leaguer does everything right, and doesn’t act like he’s uncomfortable with his new “station” in life. But when the kid tries to act better than his new classmates, bad things happen.
Those things are happening right now to a Harvard undergrad who ended up at Charleston School of Law and then tried to form an exclusive — dare I say Final Club-type society — at Charleston Law.
Read that sentence again and think about how many awful decisions had to happen before you send out exclusive invitations to something you’ve named “The Society of the Gavel.” (The full invitation is available on the next page.) And then try to wrap your mind around the fact that the kid wasn’t even able to keep the invitations to his secret club secret! They leaked to the entire student body.
After the invitations leaked, Mr. Harvard on the Harbor doubled down on the exclusivity gambit and warned the student body that if they had not been properly invited to the party, that they’d be turned away at the door.
Fitsnews has the full story. As you can well imagine, the kid’s been savaged by his classmates at Charleston Law.
Which leads us to the second part of our Charleston Law experience, a website that some Charleston Law students set up so their classmates can have “a free and open discussion arena,” — at least, that’s why the students say they set up “Law School Dish.”
I’ve been at this for a while now, and let me tell you that any time you set up a law school message board, you are going to have a lot of people talking smack about other students (like this “Society of the Gavel” jackass), and the school itself. That is just the way of things. Fish swim, lions hunt, law students bitch.
Like I said, the culture of Charleston Law is developing, and one of the things you see a lot with developing law school cultures is the emergence of people who think that anything bad about the school anywhere hurts all students who go to that school. Case in point, from Law School Dish:
Basically, this site is set up for people (in law school or not) to derogate our school and our colleagues without repercussion. It doesn’t take much to be a keyboard hero. How is this site any different from someone who anonymously places a note on someone else’s car?
And now I have this image of Charleston Law students leaving notes on each others cars. Imagine coming out of class and there’s a note on your car saying, “you suck.” No explanation or context or anything, just the objective reality that somebody took the time to place “you suck” under your windshield wiper. Freaking hilarious. I think I’m going to walk up to NYU and do this right now.
Sorry, back to the message board, from the expertly-titled thread ,”You Are All Idiots”:
I’m a CSOL student. Y’all need to stop this gossip forum. All it does is make the school look worse than it already does. Head over to the USC side. No gossip other than making fun of the CSOL side. Y’all need to wake up. Talk about real issues like professors, classes, facilities, the shitty bus stop, the smell in B333, our tiny loud ass library. All that is fine. But using this like a bunch of pre-teens in the damn lunch room in middle school is ridiculous. You are making the entire school look bad. Please stop…
All you are doing is hurting me, hurting yourself, and most of all driving the value of CSOL down that you are already paying 30k a year for.
Yeah, let me tell you buddy, at $18,337 in tuition per semester, that thing that’s hurting you ain’t got nothing to do with a message board. That’s the “real issue,” sorry about your tiny pink library, bro.
In any event, I’ve certainly enjoyed this trip to the Charleston Lawapagos. We’ll be very excited to see what this school evolves into.
Check out the “Society of the Gavel” invite on the next page….