I didn’t have “teaching assistants” when I was in law school, nor did I have “homework” in the grade-school sense of the term. In law school, we were treated, more or less, like adults. You show up to class, get yelled at by people who are smarter than you, have a ton of work to do when you get home, and a couple of times a year everything comes down to one arbitrary exam or contest.
But some law schools try to maintain the child-like comfort of TAs and response papers and multiple-choice exams. Now, TAs are generally useless everywhere, but most of them know that. They’re fine as long as they don’t take themselves too seriously.
When they do… well, hilarity ensues….
Two Ls in a class at Columbia Law School received a message from their 3L teaching assistant. Let me just start with the subject line (emphasis in the original):
Subject: MUST READ TONIGHT!
Don’t you immediately want to pull this 3L aside and say, “Dude, get over yourself”? There’s nothing that requires an ALL CAPS, boldface subject line from a freaking 3L TA.
Well, almost nothing. Maybe if there were going to be a secret, midnight raid on NYU to pillage their treasure and women, you’d need to coordinate everything TONIGHT. But everything else can wait for tomorrow:
Thank you to everyone who submitted papers on time. Special thanks to those of you who submitted the paper according to the requirements (1pg, 12 pt font, single spaced).
Dear lord. You can read the full, anal message on the next page. I don’t have the heart.
Our tipster tells us that this homework paper was worth less than three percent of the class grade. I get that some judges and court clerks take their page margins and fonts very seriously. But this TA is neither a judge nor a partner. We’re talking about a 3L. Does this guy really have to be the Grim Reaper of anality come to destroy the homework of Columbia 2Ls? Doesn’t he have a job he should be preparing for?
Actually, that’s probably it. I’ll bet that this TA was a summer associate somewhere, submitted a memo that didn’t have the correct margins, got reamed out by that one partner who reams out a summer every year because he didn’t use proper margins, and the TA thought, “I wish somebody had taught me about this anal BS when I was in school.” I bet this TA thinks he is helping.
He’s not. He’s just looking like a bit of a d-bag. Partners can get away with this crap because they sign the checks. Judges can get away with pull this crap because they’re freaking judges. Third-year TAs can pull this crap… but everybody just ends up thinking, “Man, what a dick.”
Cheers to those trying to make it through law school without becoming so anal that normal people want to beat you with sticks.