Asperger Syndrome

Disrespecting and intimidating students should be a right for law professors, not a privilege. If you roll into class unprepared, or even just looking stupid, law professors should be able to able to throw a hissy fit at you. That’s practice-ready training. Students should learn that in the real world, partners and judges will intimidate them and make them feel small and stupid for any reason, or no reason at all.

One law professor is having that right taken away from him. He’s been barred from campus. The professor claims he’s suffering from depression and Asperger’s Syndrome, and that the school violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by not accommodating his disability.

Disability? In my day, the moody professor who couldn’t keep his mouth shut or read social cues was the grindstone against which brilliant gunners sharpened their unique skills…

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“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day…. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t…. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.”

David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College commencement speech.

I am usually late to appreciate great things – i.e., the Grateful Dead, foreign cinema, red high top Reeboks (trust me, they were a “thing,” unfortunate, but still) and David Foster Wallace. I often write such things off as “fads” only to realize later in life, when I have yet again matured a bit, that I was missing out due to my own prejudices or some other ignorant trait. I came across the above speech and a fairly cool video on gawker.com today. I had heard of Wallace and written him off, not wanting to conform to a mob mentality of greatness aimed in his direction. But, after truly listening to his words, and allowing them to touch me, I did a bit of research. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled that he had committed suicide, and upon further review, it was largely due to severe depression. Then, I came upon Elie’s piece regarding the T6 candidate with Asperger’s…

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When I discussed the NALP mental health panel, I noted that we are going to see more and more law students with mental health problems in the future. As mental health services get better in high school and college, people who would have washed out are going to do well enough to get into law school.

But should they go to law school? Today, we have a question from a person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. He got into a Top 6 law school, with scholarship money. But he wonders if he should even bother if he’ll get shut of Biglaw because of his symptoms.

Let’s see what you guys think….

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* Yesterday marked day two of jury deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. The former presidential candidate says he’s “doing OK,” but you know he’s secretly pissing his pants over going to prison. [ABC News]

* Martin Weisberg, a former Baker & McKenzie partner, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He faces up to 15 years for both crimes. Like he wasn’t earning enough as a Biglaw partner. [New York Law Journal]

* A judge told two fashion houses to leave it on the runway, and not in the courtroom, but that’s not going to stop Gucci from collecting its due. Guess owes the company $4.66M for trademark infringement. [Bloomberg]

* If you’re wondering what you’re going to have to do to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, it’s really quite simple. Get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you’ll be set. [National Law Journal]

* What’s the difference between looted art and art looted by the Nazis? The Hitler part. Proposed art legislation will ban all museum recovery claims, except those of families affected by the Holocaust. [New York Times]

* “”I can’t believe f**king Allred called you!” In a total attention whore battle royale, Okorie Okorocha has sued Gloria Allred for allegedly stealing both of his clients in the John Travolta gay sex scandal. [CNN]