Many people have a cartoonish understanding of Brazil.
At Northwestern Law, the PC Police have a long and storied history. You are, of course, free to say what you want to say, but if you offend other people’s cultural sensibilities, you had best expect a reaction from other Northwestern students — whether the cultural slight was real or just perceived.
This week, a group of Northwestern Law students planning a study abroad trip in Brazil got smacked down by the PC police for being insensitive toward Brazil’s culture.
Now, in fairness, everything I know about Brazil comes from cultural stereotypes. If I went, I’d expect to be hanging out with amazingly attractive women who get horny for Jesus, while the men play soccer by day and capoeira dance-fight at night. It would all be a wonderful time, unless I went into the rainforest, where I’d die in short order from either a new species of venomous mammal or at the hands of illegal loggers who are selfishly destroying the world’s best carbon scrubber.
Is that wrong? According to some Northwestern kids, I am way off base….
Are tickets to law school commencement like organs? Or babies?
They’re not as necessary as organs, and they’re not as adorable as babies. But are graduation tickets, like organs and babies, so sacred that we should not allow them to be distributed through the free market?
(Some folks, like certain Chicago School law-and-economics types, think that we should be allowed to sell organs and/or babies. For better or worse, however, the rest of society hasn’t gone along with them.)
Let’s take a look at the commencement controversy brewing at one noteworthy law school….
Yesterday, there was a wonderful story coming out of Kansas Law School (gavel bang: @VaultLaw). A student there is starting the first animal cruelty prosecution clinic in the country. That’s what the scholars call “awesome.” There are simply not enough lawyers who are even familiar with animal cruelty laws. If more people know how to go after people who abuse animals, these criminals are more likely to be identified and punished.
Unfortunately, there’s an email going around a law school down south which will illustrates just how important it is for the new Kansas program to succeed and provide a model for similar initiatives around the country. There are some sick a$$holes out there, and they need to be stopped…
Sometimes you just have to whip it out and wait for somebody to bring over a ruler. That’s just a part of life.
But some lawyers seem to sit around all day just waiting for an opportunity to drop drawers and call for the chains.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this guy from SNR Denton. He was reading the Middle East Practice Area ABA listserv and came across an innocent question and follow-up discussion. Instead of answering the question or providing any helpful information whatsoever, he shot off a quick little response about his firm’s own magnificence.
And to make matters worse (and hilarious), it turns out he didn’t even know what he was talking about in the first place…
Today’s tale of wacky wolverines arises out of the law school’s “Mr. Wolverine” beauty pageant. Yeah, it sounds like exactly what it is. It’s a nice little event where Michigan men “dress down” for the amusement of their peers, with proceeds going to charity.
You’d like to think that a law school could pull one of these things off without turmoil, but this is Michigan. After the event, the student newspaper, Res Gestae, ran a review of the pageant authored by Chaka Laguerre. Laguerre is a Michigan Law student and a former Miss Jamaica World.
Laguerre’s review was a little bit snarky. And for reasons passing understanding, people got so pissed about it that the paper took the review down, and the Michigan listserv went nuts.
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.
You know how cars can be equipped with an ignition interlock device that prevents the engine from being started if the driver is intoxicated? Can we get one of those thingies for the personal computer, Blackberry, or any other device people can use to send email? Because I’m pretty sure a Northwestern Law student could have used a little technological warning before she logged on to her email this weekend.
Over the weekend we received an email that was (I can only assume) intended for an officer on the Northwestern Student Bar Association. But it was accidentally sent out to the entire NU law school student body. Whoops.
These are the things that happen when you try to email people at 12:30 on Friday night/Saturday morning….
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — seven years ago in the Farragut North area of Washington, DC — the “what?” list was my response when I first heard of the Posse List from a fellow contract attorney on one of my first projects. At the time, I was a newly minted lawyer, who also happened to be broke and unemployed.
“The Posse List,” replied my colleague, handing me a piece of paper. “Here, write down your email.”
Soon after handing over my email address, messages started appearing a couple of times a week in my inbox from The_Posse_List@yahoo.com. The emails contained news about various projects in D.C. that were either about to start or status updates on current ones. It was sort of my own personal “heads up” as to what work was available.
I was lucky to be one of the first few hundred people added to the list. In 2003, very few contract attorneys knew what the Posse List was; by 2005, it was a household name. And today, in the world of e-discovery and legal technology, it is known around the world.
So how did the Posse List attain such a long reach from such humble beginnings?
Earlier today, we wrote about an email controversy emanating from the halls of Harvard Law School. A 3L at HLS — referred to in these pages simply as “CRIMSON DNA,” and please help us keep it that way — sent out an email message that some construed as “racist.” In the email, “CRIMSON DNA,” following up on remarks made during an apparently spirited dinner conversation, wrote as follows:
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic.
That was just the opening. Read the rest of DNA’s email over here.
We now bring you some corrections and clarifications, as well as additional discussion — in case the 100+ tweets, 800+ comments, and 1,000+ Facebook shares weren’t enough for you….
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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